Sunday, 20 March 2011

Closed doors and illusions that blind us


When we miss a plane, lose a job, or find ourselves unable to marry the person we want, have we ever stopped to consider the possibility that it may have been for our own good? Allah tells us in the Quran: “…But 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.” (2:216)

Yesterday my 22 month old sought to exercise his independence. After climbing out of his car seat, he wanted to shut the car door like a big boy, so I stood there watching over him. Realizing that if I left him to shut the door, his little head would have gotten slammed in the process, I lifted him away, and shut the door myself. This devastated him, and he broke down in tears. How could I prevent him from doing what he so badly wanted to do?
Watching the incident, a strange thought crossed my mind. I was reminded of all the times this had happens to us in life—when we want something so badly, but Allah does not allow us to have it. I was reminded of all the times we as adults felt this same frustration when things just wouldn’t work out the way we so desperately wanted them to. And then suddenly, it was so clear. I had only taken my son away from the door to protect him. But he had no idea. In the midst of his mourning, he had no idea that I had actually saved him. And just as my son wept in his naivety and innocence, so often we too bemoan events that have actually saved us.

It takes great strength to see beyond the illusions, to a deeper truth—which we may or may not understand. Just as my son could not understand how my depriving him of what he most wanted at that moment was in fact my looking out for him, we are often just as blind.
As a result, we end up staring indefinitely at the closed doors of our lives, and forget to notice the ones that have opened. When we don’t get hired, or we lose something dear to us, it’s hard to take a step back and notice the bigger picture. Often Allah takes things away from us, only to replace them with something greater.

Even tragedy may happen in this way. One can imagine few calamities more painful than the loss of a child. And yet, even this loss could happen to save us and give us something greater.

The Prophet said:

If the child of a servant (of Allah) dies, Allah says to His Angels: ‘Have you taken the child of My servant?’
The Angels reply: ‘Yes.’
Allah says to them: ‘Have you taken the fruit of his heart?’
They reply: ‘Yes.’
Then Allah says to them: ‘What did my servant say?’
The Angels reply: ‘He praised Allah and said: ‘To Allah do we return.’
Allah tells them: ‘Build a home for my servant in Paradise and call it Baytul Hamd (the House of Praise).’ [Tirmidhi]

When Allah takes something as beloved from us as a child, it may be that He has taken it in order to give us something greater. It may be because of that loss, that we are admitted into paradise—an eternal life with our child. And unlike our life here, it is an everlasting life where our child will have no pain, fear, or sickness.
But in this life, even our own sicknesses may not be what they seem. Through them Allah may be in fact purifying us of our sins. When the Prophet was suffering from a high fever, he said: “No Muslim is afflicted with any harm, even if it were the prick of a thorn, but that Allah expiates his sins because of that, as a tree sheds its leaves.” [Bukhari]
In another hadith the Prophet explains that this applies even to sadness and worry. He says: “Whenever a Muslim is afflicted with a hardship, sickness, sadness, worry, harm, or depression – even a thorn’s prick, Allah expiates his sins because of it.” [Bukhari]
Or consider the example of poverty. Most people without wealth would never consider that a possible blessing. But for the people around Qarun, it was. Qarun was a man who lived at the time of Prophet Musa who Allah had endowed with such great wealth, that even the keys to his wealth was itself wealth. The Qur’an says: “So he came out before his people in his adornment. Those who desired the worldly life said, ‘Oh, would that we had like what was given to Qarun. Indeed, he is one of great fortune.’” (28:79)
But Qarun’s wealth had made him arrogant, ungrateful, and rebellious against Allah. Allah says: “And We caused the earth to swallow him and his home. And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah, nor was he of those who [could] defend themselves. And those who had wished for his position the previous day began to say, ‘Oh, how Allah extends provision to whom He wills of His servants and restricts it! If not that Allah had conferred favor on us, He would have caused it to swallow us. Oh, how the disbelievers do not succeed!’” (Qur’an, 28:81-82) After seeing the fate of Qarun, the same people became grateful that they had been saved from his wealth.
But perhaps there is no better example of this lesson, than in the story of Musa and Al-Khidr that were are told about in Surat Al-Kahf. When Prophet Musa was traveling with Al-Khidr (who commentators say was an angel in the form of a man), he learned that things are often not what they seem, and that the wisdom of Allah cannot always be understood from the surface. Al-Khidr and Prophet Musa came upon a town whereupon Al-Khidr began to damage the boats of the people.
On the surface, this action would seem to have been harmful to the poor owners of the boats. However, Al-Khidr later explains that he was in fact protecting the people, and saving the boats for them. Allah tells us in the Qur’an: “[Al-Khidhr] said, ‘This is parting between me and you. I will inform you of the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience. As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working at sea. So I intended to cause defect in it as there was after them a king who seized every [good] ship by force.’” (18:78-79)
In damaging the boats, Al-Khidr was actually protecting the people by making the boats undesirable to the king who had been seizing them by force. And sometimes in life, that’s exactly what happens. In order to save us, something is taken away from us, or given to us in a way we don’t want. And yet to us—as it did to a 22 month old boy—it looks only like a closed door.

surah al baqarah verse 30-34

30. And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth." They said: "Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, - while we glorify You with praises and thanks (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners) and sanctify You." He (Allah) said: "I know that which you do not know."
31. And He taught Adam all the names (of everything) , then He showed them to the angels and said, "Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful."
32. They (angels) said: "Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise."
33. He said: "O Adam! Inform them of their names," and when he had informed them of their names, He said: "Did I not tell you that I know the Ghaib (unseen) in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing?"
34. And (remember) when We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourselves before Adam.". And they prostrated except Iblis (Satan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah).

Allah created Jinn and sent them on earth way before the creation of humans. and these Jinn when given the freedom created mischief on earth. So when Allah informed the angels that after jinn He intends to send generations of mankind on earth, the angels said that wont the humans create mischief on earth and shed blood ( like the jinn had done). The angels further added that they are totally engrossed in praising and glorifying their Lord then why the need for a generation sent to earth which would worship Him. Allah replied that He is All- Knowing. It needs to be noted here that angels do no intend to complain or question Allah's decision rather they are expressing their opinion and this freedom of voicing opinion has been preferred in humans as well as per our religion. Islam fully allows us the freedom of expressing opinions as can be proved by this gesture of angels. Another important point is that the angels worship is involuntary. That's what they are made for. But humans have been commanded to live a life which is dedicated to His worship but at the same time live a life as taught by Holy Prophet(pbuh). if our duties had been like those of angels then humans wouldnt have been commanded to perform the other duties as well (which includes earning a Halaal livelihood,  fullfilling the rights of neighbours, family and overall humanity and other such responsibilities). a further proof of this fact is that Allah reduced the Salat commandments fro 50 to 5 times a day. If it had been 5o times then prayer would have been all that we would have done all day long.
And then Allah taught Hazrat Adam all the names. there are two schools of thought on what these "names" refer to?
the first school of thought states that they are the names of ALL the things present on earth
the second school of thought states that they are names of ALL the children of Hazrat Adam. ( before being sent on the earth Allah had created every human being in the form of spirits and it was then that Hazrat Adam was familiarized with all this children who would be sent to earth at different times)
And then the angels were asked to repeat all that Hazrat Adam was taught and they replied that indeed Allah is All-Knowing and when Hazrat Adam was asked to do so, he repeated what he had been taught. this goes on to show that humans have been blessed with a gift - the gift of knowledge while angels have limited knowledge relevant to their duties. and then the angels were commanded to bow before Hazrat Adam and they did except for Iblis who refused to do so in his arrogance. Iblis was actually a jinn but he was extremely pious and was a staunt worshipper of Allah but when Allah informed them of His decision to create humans and send them on earth(implying that they would be superceding the jinns in terms of knowledge and reputation), he in his arrogance refused to bow before Hazrat Adam. Hence, he was classified among the non-believers based on this refusal.
This gives us two thoughts to ponder over. Firstly, that humans have been made the highest reputed living creatures on earth (Ashraful Makhlooqaat) as obvious by the fact that even the angels were asked to bow before Hazrat Adam. Do we do justice to this highly elevated reputation we have been blessed with?
Secondly,  Iblis was termed as a non-believer by Allah when he refused to bow before Hazrat Adam, and we dont even bow before the Almighty Creator so where does that leave us?

These verses signify the two most important blessing given to humans - the blessing of knowledge and the honour of been the ashraful makhlooqaat.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

surah al Baqarah verse 26-29


26. Verily, Allah is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or so much more when it is bigger (or less when it is smaller) than it. And as for those who believe, they know that it is the Truth from their Lord, but as for those who disbelieve, they say: "What did Allah intend by this parable?" By it He misleads many, and many He guides thereby. And He misleads thereby only those who are Al-Fasiqun (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah).
27. Those who break Allah's Covenant after ratifying it, and sever what Allah has ordered to be joined and do mischief on earth, it is they who will suffer a loss.
28. How can you disbelieve in Allah? Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life. Then He will give you death, then again will bring you to life (on the Day of Resurrection) and then unto Him you will return.
29. He it is Who created for you all that is on earth. Then He Istawa (rose over) towards the heaven and made them seven heavens and He is the All-Knower of everything.

In the previous verses a challenge was given to the non-believers to produce a verse similar to that in the Quran. When all those who had taken up the challenge failed to succeed, they turned to ridiculing the examples given in the Quran. They said if Quran had really been the word of Allah then it would have contained examples of important things and not of things that are insignificant or small. these verses are a response to that ridicule.
Allah is not ashamed to give examples of a thing as tiny as a mosquito. and the believers do not question this rather they believe whatever Allah tells them but the non-believers they ridicule these examples and question the purpose of the example/ similie. (the amazing fact is that the very 'insignificant' creature being talked about here becomes the cause of around 250 million malaria cases and 1 million deaths in a year all round the world). These people are misguided by Allah through this very Book and examples and at the same time the believers are directed to the right path. The question may arise that since Allah himself misguides these people then why would they be at fault? Allah answers this very question in the next verse. He says that the misguided people will be those who refuse to accept the word of Allah, are disobedient to Him, break Allah's covenant after accepting it and break off all that which Allah has ordered to maintain and they cause mischief on earth. These are the people who will suffer a heavy loss As Dr Israr explained that this convenant refers to the time before our birth when all humans were in the form of spirits/souls(there were no bodies Allah created all humans in the form of spirits only). The spirits of all those who were going to come to the world till the Doom Day were created at one time before coming to this world and brought before Allah where they were asked "Am i not your Lord?" and all the spirits replied that indeed You are our Lord and we accept You as our Sustainer , our Master. Every human being has made this convenant before coming to the Earth and it is this promise that Allah is talking about.  all those who made that promise in the spirit form before coming to the world in the form of human bodies and are now breaking the same promise, (in spite of the fact that Allah sent down messengers and the Holy Quran as a reminder of our promise to Him) they are the Faasiqeen.
break off all that which Allah has ordered to maintain - this is explained by verse 38 of Surah Ar-Roum "So give what is due to kindred, the needy, and the wayfarer. that is best for those who seek the Countenance of Allah and it is they who will prosper."
Allah has ordered us to maintain strong relations with not only the Creator Himself but with humans as well i.e. maintain family ties and fulfill the rights of relatives, family and the needy.
verse 25 of Surah Raad states the same - "As for those who violate GOD's covenant after pledging to keep it, and sever what GOD has commanded to be joined, and commit evil, they have incurred condemnation; they have incurred the worst destiny."

verse 28 is an exclamatory statement that How can you reject Allah, disbelieve in Him who gave you life from a state of death, then again will pronounce death on you and then will bring you back to life when you will return to Him. (the process of life and death repeats i.e. we get two lives and two). Many of us fail to understand the concept of two deaths. Dr Israr Ahmed and Dr Farhat explain the first death as the time when all humans were created in the form of spirits at one time, were called upon by Allah where they made the covenant and then all the spirits were put to sleep (death 1). This explains that we were never non-existent. All of us existed in the form of dead spirits before coming to this world. these dead spirits were brought back to life in the form of humans to this world(life 1). Then we shall die on this very earth(death 2) and our spirits will return to Allah and then again we will be brought back to life for the Day of resurrection(life 2). And then we will return to Him for an eternal life.

the last verse reminds us that this world and everything in this earth is created for us. Allah created this land for us and provided for all our needs and then He went on to create the sky and created 7 perfect skies. And this land and sky work to fullfill our needs to provide us with livelihood, fruits, vegetation etc. And indeed Allah knows everything.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Salah: Life’s Forgotten Purpose


Salah: Life’s Forgotten Purpose

Man has taken many journeys throughout time. But there is one journey that nobody has ever taken.
Nobody—except one.
On a vehicle no man has ever ridden, through a path no soul has ever seen. To a place no creation has ever before set foot. It was the journey of one man to meet the Divine. It was the journey of Muhammad ﷺ, prophet of God, to the highest heaven.
It was al Israa wal Miraaj (the magnificent journey).
On that journey Allah took his beloved prophet ﷺ to the seventh heaven—a place not even angel Gibreel could enter. In the Prophet’s mission on earth, every instruction, every commandment was sent down through angel Gibreel. But, there was one commandment that was not. There was one commandment so important, that rather than sending angel Gibreel down with it, Allah brought the Prophet ﷺ up to Himself.
That commandment was salah (prayer). When the Prophet ﷺ was first given the command to pray, it was to be fifty times in a day. After asking Allah to make it easier, the commandment was eventually reduced to five times a day, with the reward of the fifty.
Reflecting upon this incident scholars have explained that the process of going from fifty to five was a deliberate one, intended to teach us the true place salah should hold in our lives. Imagine for a moment actually praying fifty times a day. Would we be able to do anything else but pray? No. And that’s the point. What greater way than that to illustrate our life’s true purpose? As if to say, salah is our real life; all the rest that we fill our day with…just motions.
And yet, we live as if it’s exactly the opposite. Salah is something we squeeze into our day, when we find time—if that. Our ‘lives’ don’t revolve around salah. Salah revolves around our ‘lives.’ If we’re in class, salah is an afterthought. If we’re at the mall, the Macy’s sale is more urgent. Something is seriously wrong when we put aside the very purpose of our existence in order to watch a basketball game.
And that is for those who even pray at all. There are those who have not only put aside their life’s purpose, they have abandoned it completely. What we often don’t realize about the abandonment of salah is this: No scholar has ever held the opinion that committing zina (fornication) makes you a disbeliever. No scholar has ever held the opinion that stealing, drinking or taking drugs makes you a disbeliever. No scholar has even claimed that murder makes you a non-Muslim. But, about salah, some scholars have said he who abandons it, is no longer Muslim. This is said based on ahadith such as this one: “The covenant between us and them is prayer, so if anyone abandons it, he has become a disbeliever.” [Ahmad]
Imagine an act so egregious that the Prophet ﷺ would speak about it is such a way. Consider for a moment what satan did wrong. He didn’t refuse to believe in Allah. He refused to make one sajdah. Just one. Imagine all the sajdahs we refuse to make.
Consider the seriousness of such a refusal. And yet, think how lightly we take the matter of salah. Salah is the first thing we will be asked about on the Day of Judgment, and yet it is the last thing that is on our mind. The Prophet ﷺ said: “The first thing which will be judged among a man’s deeds on the Day of Resurrection is the Prayer. If this is in good order then he will succeed and prosper but if it is defective then he will fail and will be a loser.” [Tirmidhi]
On that Day, the people of paradise will ask those who have entered Hell-fire, why they have entered it. And the Qur’an tells us exactly what their first response will be: ”What led you into Hell Fire? They will say: ‘We were not of those who prayed.’” (Qur’an, 74:42-43)
How many of us will be among those who say “we were not of those who prayed, or we were not of those who prayed on time, or we were not of those who made prayer any priority in our lives?” Why is it that if we’re in class or at work or fast asleep at the time of fajr and we need to use the restroom, we make time for that? In fact, the question almost sounds absurd. We don’t even consider it an option not to. And even if we were taking the most important exam of our lives, when we need to go, we will go. Why? Because the potentially mortifying consequences of not going, makes it a non-option.
There are many people who say they don’t have time to pray at work or school, or while they’re out. But how many have ever said they don’t have time to go to the bathroom, so while out, at work or school have opted instead to just wear Depends? How many of us just don’t feel like waking up at Fajr time if we need to use the bathroom, and choose instead to wet our bed? The truth is we’ll get out of bed, or leave class, or stop work, to use the bathroom, but not to pray.
It sounds comical, but the truth is we put the needs of our body above the needs of our soul. We feed our bodies, because if we didn’t, we’d die. But so many of us starve our souls, forgetting that if we are not praying our soul is dead. And ironically, the body that we tend to is only temporary, while the soul that we neglect is eternal.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Forgiving Others, Enhancing Personal Productivity




Forgiving Others, Enhancing Personal Productivity

February 24, 2011
by ProductiveMuslimView Comments
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011 in Articles
Forgiving Others, Enhancing Personal ProductivityImagine the feeling of looking at the man who murdered your uncle, who cut out his organs and gave it to someone to eat- and forgiving him. Imagine being abused and taunted, and when given the chance to retaliate, instead you forgive. This was the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), a man described as “an excellent exemplar for those who hope in Allah and the Last Day” [Quran, Chapter 33, Surat al-Ahzab, 33:21].
Many of us cannot forgive our parents or friends or spouses when they say hurtful things in anger. We hold grudges for years, unable to forget the things people have done to us. On the one hand, we feel justified in feeling this way. After all, we are the ones wronged. On the other, bottling things up inside is unhealthy at the very least, on both a spiritual and psychological level.
It is natural to be upset at someone when they’ve hurt you. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) told us that a Muslim is not allowed to break off ties with another Muslim for more than 3 days, recognizing that we need time to cool off. Yet what is unhealthy, and often destructive, is the inability to forgive and move on.
So what does forgiving actually mean?
Forgiving means not carrying a grudge in your heart against that person. Forgiving means that if you were given the chance to retaliate, you would choose not to. Forgiving means not wishing evil, even if secretly, upon the person. It means you can continue to be civil towards them, and that you can even bring yourself to pray for their well-being and guidance.
However, forgiveness does not mean that you cannot learn from the trial. It doesn’t mean that the person did not do wrong, nor does it justify what they did. If you trusted someone and they betrayed your trust, forgiveness does not mean that you have to trust them again if they haven’t given you reason to. You are able to treat them well, without resentment in your heart, but if you learned something about their character, you should keep that in mind when dealing with them.
So how can we benefit from forgiving others? How can this help us to be productive Muslims?

1. Spiritual productivity: Earning Allah’s pleasure

When we are preoccupied with the wrongs others have committed against us, we lose focus of one of the most beautiful ways to get closer to Allah. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“There was a merchant who used to extend credit to people. If he found one of his customers to be in straightened means, he would say to his assistants: “Forgive them their debt, perhaps Allah will forgive us.” Allah did forgive him.” [Bukhari/Muslim]
There is a direct correlation between the ways we treat others and how Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) treats us. We all know the Prophet’s (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) famous saying “Have mercy on those on the earth, and the One in heaven will have mercy on you” [Tirmidhi]. Of course, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) is incomparably greater and more merciful than us. Therefore, whatever we do for others, Allah will multiply that for us. If we are sincere in wanting Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) to forgive us for our many slip-ups and sins, we should be prepared to do that for others.
The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), while sitting in the mosque with the Companions (radi Allahu anhum), pointed out a person who entered the mosque as being of those who would enter Jannah. He did this for 3 days, and every time, it was the same person who entered the mosque. Abdullah bin ‘Amr (radi Allahu anhu) wanted to know what quality this man possessed that made the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) say that about him, so he spent three nights with that man. He did not notice that the man prayed the optional night prayers during any of these nights, but if he woke up during the night, he would simply mention Allah. So before he left, he had to ask him what he did that was so special that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) identified him as a man of Jannah. The man replied: “My deeds are nothing more than what you saw”. When Abdullah (radi Allahu anhu) left, he (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) called him back in and said: “My deeds are nothing more than what you saw, but the only thing I do is that I do not hold any grudge against any Muslim or envy anyone for what bounties Allah has granted them”; thereupon ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr (radi Allahu anhu) said to him: “This difficult quality to obtain is what granted you this rank”. [Ahmad]
That is what it means to be true believer. Our focus is not simply in how much we pray, although that has its place. Rather we are so focused on gaining the pleasure of Allah that people’s wrongs against us are insignificant. This is why Allah described the believers as “those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive” [Surat ash-Shu’ara, 42:37].

2. Psychological Productivity: Gaining Strength

Psychologists have said that the inability to forgive may cause a person to repeatedly bring anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. The hurt and insecurity caused by our offender is projected onto others, because we were not able to move on from our previous experience.
We are not being asked to condone what others have done to us, but rather we should acknowledge that they have hurt us and it was wrong. We should reflect on why this was hurtful, what may have been the motives of the person who hurt us, and what we should learn. And then we should move on, because we cannot change the past, but we can certainly use it to empower ourselves and become better people, insha Allah.
When we take the step to learn from a hurtful experience, we should be able to prevent ourselves from doing the same to others. Many times we condemn what we do ourselves- we are hurt that someone has spoken behind our backs, but we backbite all the time. We feel slighted when we are not appreciated by our parents, but never once did we recognize and thank others for the things they do for us. This introspection should help us to gain greater clarity into our own dealings with people.
Another psychological effect of forgiving others is that it teaches us sympathy. When we let go of anger, we can better understand those who are put in the same situation that we were in previously. Sometimes it helps us to not demonize the person who hurt us; the specific thing that they did may have been bad, but when we step back, we sometimes learn that they have their own baggage that caused them to act in a certain way. This is not to condone what they did, but it is to enable us to see that the world is not always so black and white.

3. Physical Productivity: Healthy mind, healthy body

The inability to forgive affects us spiritually and psychologically, and furthermore, has a detrimental effect on our health. One study showed that people who focused on a personal grudge had increased blood pressure and heart rates, as well as increased muscle tension and feelings of being less in control. Participants in this study were asked to imagine forgiving their wrongdoers, and they said they felt more positive and relaxed and thus, the changes disappeared.
May Allah give us the strength to forgive others for their faults, and to forgive us for our own. Ameen.

About the Author:
Jinan Bastaki  is a Law graduate from the London School of Economics (LSE), and is now specializing in Public International Law. She manages a and learning from the life of the Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam);  As well, she manages the blogzine ‘Tarbiya’. She writes for

The disease of laziness and overcoming it

In The name of Allah,The Most Merciful,The Most gracious

The disease of laziness and overcoming it

During the time of Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, an incident happened in which a man slept the entire night and he missed the Fajr prayer. Despite the fact that this is a very common occurrence in our present day, at that time such things rarely happened. He missed Fajr, and so they came and spoke to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam about this.
‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood, radi Allaahu anhu narrates: A man came and said to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, “Oh Messenger of Allah, verily a person slept last night until the morning, until the dawn came and he missed Fajr.”
The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam replied, “This is a person whom the devil has urinated in his ears.”
Dear brothers and sisters, try going to any books of hadith and in each and every one you will find a chapter entitled Baab al-Isti’aadhah Minal Kasl. Translated, this chapter is called: ‘Chapter of Seeking Allah’s Protection from Laziness.’
Kasl, or laziness, also known as procrastination, is a disease. University students know what procrastination can do to their studies. It is a disease that afflicts the minds, after the mind, it then afflicts the heart, and finally, through the heart, the body is afflicted.
Today, you will learn that laziness is a technique used by Satan, and today you will learn the techniques you can use to combat it.
The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam frequently made the following supplication:
“Oh Allah, I seek your protection from, alajz” – which means the inability to do something. And when someone said, “I can’t do that,” The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam would seek protection from such negative speech by adding: “and I seek your protection (Oh Allah) from alkasl”- which is translated as laziness.
At its core this society is built on laziness. Consider that it is a society based on the idea that we have to rest on Sundays. “Why do you have to rest on Sundays?” some may ask, and society (may Allah protect us from this) would answer that even Allah got lazy on Sunday. He did His work all week long; He built the heavens and the earth, and then on Sunday He got tired and rested. So, may Allah protect us. Contemporary culture has us resting and watching football games on Sundays.
Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala testifies to the lunacy of such an idea, implicitly stating that
…there is no drowsiness and no sleep that comes to Him (Al-Baqarah 2/255).
In addition, we live in a society that lives for ‘fast and easy’. You have the fast food joints, even the microwave meals that take 5 minutes are considered tedious because you have to take it out after a couple of minutes and stir it before it is finished cooking. Ever hear the promises to have the perfect body in ten minutes for only three days a week? Examples abound. And in its quest for ‘fast and easy’, society does not realize that the root of its problems, indeed, the root of all major sins, lies in laziness.
Why would a person take alcohol and drugs? They are too lazy to change their situation. Instead of actively striving for change, they take a drug to immediately change it. Why do people practice black magic, a phenomenon that is, unfortunately, prevalent in many of our parent’s societies? They do it because they are too lazy to go out and get married, or they’re too lazy to influence people in ways that will accomplish their various goals. Why do people partake in riba’ (mortgages as an example) and deal with financial interest? They are too lazy to get a proper job and work to pay for something honestly. Why do people gamble? They addictively buy lottery tickets at ridiculous odds of winning in the hopes that their one dollar will instantly earn millions. Laziness is again the culprit. Why do people backbite? People backbite because they are too lazy to go and tell the person the truth. And these, dear brothers and sisters, are all major sins.
Thus, like a poison, laziness corrupts all good things.
There are beautiful and amazing things that you want to do for yourself, or do for Allah subhaahanu wa ta’aala. Your intention is good, but if you don’t have the energy, or you suffer from the laziness plight, your desires will go nowhere; they will bear no fruit.
The causes of this disease, called laziness, are rooted in the heart.
Firstly, a lazy person doesn’t know and doesn’t understand his or her need to accumulate good deeds. We understand the need to accumulate money, but we may not understand why or how to accumulate good deeds. Very few people understand that this life is about collecting deeds and preparing for the journey of the hereafter.
Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala advises,
…to prepare your provisions (for the journey to the hereafter) and the best provision is taqwa (fear/piety) of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala (Al-Baqarah 2/197).
Secondly, people are discouraged by the thought that others will consider them ‘holier than thou.’ Or perhaps the problem is that some people think too highly of themselves, glorifying themselves to such a high level that when they hear the commandments of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala they reply by justifying their laziness with excuses like, “My heart is clean,” or “Why do I have to do that,” or “I’m a good person.” Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala states:
Do not claim piety to yourselves (An-Najm 53/32).
If someone says, “I’m good,” the response should be, “Allah knows best who is true, who is righteous.”
Indeed, those who suffer from laziness don’t understand the gold mine of opportunity awaiting them. There are thousands of people around you waiting to hear the call of Islam. You are living among sponges ready to listen to you say, “I am a Muslim.” And they are going to ask, “How can I become one too?”
A brother I knew overseas said it perfectly: “The North Americans have such enormous prospects. Imagine teaching a new Muslim Surah al-Fatiha, or how to pray. You will get the reward for this most noble lesson each time the person recites this surah. You can’t do that in Muslim countries, although there are other different opportunities there, most people don’t recognize them and this leads to laziness.”
Know that this concerns you, and if you start demonstrating the energy and zeal it takes to worship Allah to the best of your ability, then you will be the one to benefit.
This is your life; this is your soul. You are only going to live once on this earth, and you’ll be traveling to the hereafter with a suitcase of good deeds. Hopefully, you won’t be traveling light. The one who understands this early on, the one to get on the bandwagon of the worship of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala early on, accumulates everything.
Be a pioneer; bring Islam to everyone.
And so they come on the day of resurrection and they see mountains of good deeds that they never imagined they would have had and it will be said to them this is because you weren’t lazy when other people were lazy.
Recognize the opportunity, seize it, and kick start the worship of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala by others.
But if you choose not to heed these words, to yawn, and to be lazy, you are turning your back on the words of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. And the consequences will be grave, for the sunnah of creation, indeed the law of nature, stipulates that that which does not contribute will be destroyed. What do you do with weeds in your garden? You pull them out, you get rid of them. What do you do when your nails get too long, when there is no purpose to their length? You snip them off, discard them in the trash. And so it is, as a community and as individuals in that community, if we are not contributing, and if we are not energetically producing, we will be deemed useless and we will be eliminated.
Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala says:
In this way, He gives forth the parable of the truth and falsehood and the vanity. Vanity is like the foam, the dirt on the ocean (there is no benefit to it). But the things that do bring benefit (those devoid of laziness) will remain steadfast in the land (Ar-Ra’d 13/17).
Even after you are gone, your good deeds will continue to benefit.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that Allah pays attention to the lazy one’s worship. Prophet Muhammad sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said:
“Do those deeds that you are able to perform, for verily, Allah will not tire of your ‘ibadah (worship) until you tire.”
Ponder the phenomenon of those who make du’a absentmindedly, not knowing what it is that they are saying. They may even be yawning, confused, or focused on something else entirely. Allah is not paying attention to that person just like they are not paying attention to their du’a. That is a du’a that is not answered by Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. A du’a that is answered is the one where the person’s heart and energy are invested in it. Allah will listen. If you can consistently take your du’a to that level, you’ll see dramatic changes in your life.
When I was younger, there was an imam from overseas who came to lead the taraweeh prayers in Ramadan. We would have to pick him up at Fajr time and drive him to the masjid. One early morning, I was feeling particularly tired and lazy. My parents had an especially hard time waking me up. Yet, when we arrived at the Imam’s house, I noticed that the neighbors were in the midst of an all-night party. It was 5 am and their lights were blaring, their music was booming, and the party-goers were still drinking their alcohol. They’d spent the entire night awake in qiyaamul layl, but not to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. Their worship was for the devil.
I remember thinking to myself that this disbeliever has the stamina and energy to waste the night away, how can the servant of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala not have the energy and ability to worship Him? After all, they too are humans like us. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab radi Allaahu anhu is quoted as saying, “I seek Allah’s protection from the time when the fasiq or disobedient will have much energy and enthusiasm and the righteous will be lazy.” The fasiq will open up bars everywhere and run his houses of immorality with vigor. And the righteous will do little to nothing in the sake of Allah. When this happens, there is an imbalance on earth, and corruption will be widespread and prevalent.
Brothers and sisters, let me tell you about the blessedness of having energy and enthusiasm in worshipping Allah and what it will do for you.
Number 1: The extra energy will win you the pleasure of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala.
Musa alayhis salaam was told to come to the mountain for 40 days. And come he did, not walking slowly, not ten minutes late, but running. In explaining his arrival, Musa said,
I came hastily to you, oh Allah, so that you will be pleased with me (Taha 20/84).
And indeed, his words were so pleasing to his creator that Allah recorded them in the Qur’an for all eternity.
When you hear a name of a prophet’s companion, you say, “May Allah be pleased with him.” Well, this is how you get that same distinction for yourself. Be hasty in your desire and actions that lead to goodness.
Number 2: Having energy is the characteristic of the believer. Being lazy is the characteristic of the hypocrite.
Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala says the munafiq, or hypocrite is he who has disbelief in his heart, while outwardly claiming belief. Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala describes them in the following verse:
If they get up for the salah (prayer), they get up with laziness (An-Nisaa’ 4/142).
“Give me ten more minutes…give me ten more minutes… oh! I missed Fajr…oh no. I’ll pray after Fajr. Give me ten more minutes…give me ten more minutes…”
A characteristic of hypocrisy is when they reach for that snooze button and get up lazily for prayer. In this moment they’re experiencing a state of nifaq or hypocrisy. May Allah protect us.
May He also protect us from using excuses to not follow through with our deeds.
A Canadian may say it’s too cold; an African will say it’s too hot. Both are making excuses for not doing good actions. It was summer in the desert during the time of the Battle of Tabuk, and there was a walking distance of what is today a seven-hour car trip from Madinah to Tabuk. The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam was rallying his troops for an exhaustive trek that, back then, would have taken months.
Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala says,
…they (the hypocrites) encouraged people not to go with the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam by saying, “Do not go out in the heat.” Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala’s response was to tell them, “The fire of hell is much hotter; if only they understood” (At-Tauba 9/81).
Ibn al-Jawzee, may Allah have mercy on his soul, said, “I have never seen a flaw sadder to me than a community whose people stop working, despite having the ability to continue.”
The ramifications of laziness can be very harmful. Some of you may have come across a person who displays a genuine interest in Islam. That person may be about to take the shahada when Shaytan gets to him and her. An excuse the devil uses is, “You have to comprehend the Qur’an first.” Hence the would-be Muslim is convinced that they do love Islam, but perhaps further study is required. And so it is that he or she delays coming back to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala, and as time passes they may no longer possess the same enthusiasm.
Similarly, Muslims seeking to make repentance to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala might give themselves time by saying, “Let me wait till I pay off my mortgage (or pay off my student loans. Let me wait till I do this, let me wait till I do that) then I will repent to Allah.” But it doesn’t work like that because as time passes and sins grow, the heart consistently gets weaker and weaker. A time will come when the person knows it’s the last chance, but the heart may have already been sealed shut.
And as Prophet Muhammad sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said:
“Race to good deeds before a time and a fitnah (test) comes that will sweep over you like the darkest of the darkest nights.”
Are not the trials apparent all around us?
Look to the Islamic educational scene. Scholars we may or may not know are being singled out by the dozens. Religious knowledge is being taken from us. If you have the chance to attend a halaqah, or an Islamic class, you have to race to it now! It may be that you won’t have another chance.
Fitnah will come to you, and you must survive it with whatever knowledge you hold. It may be that the knowledge you possess will suffice to protect you, and it may be that it will not be enough to avail you. The consequences thereof would be disastrous, and may eventually lead to hellfire. May Allah protect us.
Picture this analogy: In Australia they have sharks that prey near the coastline. To warn bathing humans of impending danger, they have a certain whistle that rings when a shark is sighted. Now imagine if you’re feeling sluggish or you’re playing a game trying to see how long you can hold your breath under the water. You don’t hear the warning sound, and then you raise your head out of the water, and notice that nobody is in it except you. Everyone has made it to shore, they are yelling for you to hurry, but you are ten minutes from the beach. How would you make it? Would you make it? Only Allah knows for sure, but that’s exactly what laziness does to you. It not only renders you unprepared, but also helpless as to the actions you must take in order to survive.
But today is a new day, and by the grace of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala you and I can learn to let go of that laziness. We will work with renewed energy, striving to return to the worship of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala.
Here are some techniques to use.

Number 1: Yawning Promotes Laziness

Yawning is from the devil. And when it comes to us, we must fight it. Despite what your medical classes are telling you about needing oxygen through yawning, it was your Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam who advised on covering the mouth and resisting the yawn, by not letting out any noise. No (loud) “Ahhhsss!”

Number 2: Eating One-Third

The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam taught us to eat using the one-third method. You don’t need much to sustain yourself; a few bites will usually do. If you are going to eat a meal, then one-third is the crucial number. One-third of your stomach should be for food, one-third for water, and one-third for breathing.
Realize that one of the most cunning tricks of Shaytan is urging people to fill their stomachs beyond capacity. How many times have you eaten a huge meal only to feel like taking a nap afterwards? And how many times has this nap dissuaded you from the worship of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala?

Number 3: Spend Time with Energetic People

Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala says,
Be patient with those people who call upon their lord in the mornings and the evenings.
When you see a person going for salah consistently, always in a state of worship and remembrance of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala, you say to them, “Hey brother/hey sister, how about we go out for lunch? I’d like to spend time with you.”
Feed from their energy. Alternatively, if lazy people surround you, distance yourself from them, or give them da’wah, encouraging positive action. You want to pick the right people, because we tend to emulate those whom we befriend.
Do as your Prophet did and constantly seek refuge from Allah from the laziness that Shaytan uses to defeat the Muslims. When you find yourself reaching for that snooze button, a.k.a ‘the Shaytan button’, remember the ploy against you and seek Allah’s help to resist. You will have the strength to wake up for Fajr. Ultimately, laziness is a state of mind.
In conclusion, the one concept that ties this all together is honesty. Being honest about your laziness and sincerely striving to change is the first step in seeing results. The fact of the matter is that when Allah commands us to do something, it is not possible to have excuses, and know that tasks put upon you are doable, for Allah does not place a burden on a person more than they can bear.
You can do it, others have done it before you, and others continue to do it. Join the ranks of the energetic.
Ka’b ibn Malik radi Allahu anhu, went to the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam after the Battle of Tabuk, and the hypocrites had been making excuses for their absence from the fighting. Ka’b had not participated in the battle and he thought that he too might come up with some excuse in order to save himself, but he realized that he could not lie to the Prophet of Allah. He told the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, “I have never had more energy or ability than this time, but I just didn’t go.”
And the prophet said, He is the one who is truthful.
And by the potency of his honesty and sincerity, the Qur’an mentions that Allah had forgiven Ka’b.
How do you truthfully word the reasons for your laziness? If the Fajr prayer has passed you by and the devil has urinated in your ears, do not place blame where blame is not due. Don’t make excuses like, “I had a long night.” Instead, say, “The truth is that the accumulation of my sins led me to miss Fajr. But this is not who I am. I am the slave of Allah. Oh Allah, tomorrow, with your permission, I will show you what I am going to do for your sake.” And so you make your repentance, you repeat your good intentions, and you continue until you reach those higher levels of energy.
I ask Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala to bless you with that energy and I pray and hope that you can make the same du’a for me.


Thursday, 3 March 2011

Surah Al Baqarah verse 21-25


21. O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious
22. Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped).
23. And if you are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Qur'an) to Our slave (Muhammad Peace be upon him ), then produce a Surah (chapter) of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah, if you are truthful.
24. But if you do it not, and you can never do it, then fear the Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.
25. And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous good deeds, that for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise). Every time they will be provided with a fruit therefrom, they will say: "This is what we were provided with before," and they will be given things in resemblance (i.e. in the same form but different in taste) and they shall have therein Azwajun Mutahharatun (purified mates or wives),  and they will abide therein forever.

the very first phrase of verse 21 (O mankind) implies that now Allah is referring to the entire mankind and not just the believers or the non-believers. Rather its for everyone. We are told in this verse to worship Allah (accept Him as the Ruler, love Him and bow down before Him humbly). so that we may be saved from His displeasure and wrath. He made this earth a comfortable place for us to reside with a sky above us for comfort and protection.  The rain that pours from the sky facilitates the growth of vegetation and fruits on earth which become the food not only for the humans but for all sorts of living creatures on the earth. So when He is being so Merciful and Kind in blessing us with numerous bounties then there leaves no room for doubt that only He should be worshipped and nothing else should be associated with His existence. uttering words that even hint at Shirk should be avoided at any cost. A Hadith states that once a man said to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) " Whatever Allah wills and whatever you will." The Holy Prophet (pbuh) replied " Are you associating me with the existence of Allah? You should say ' Whatever Allah alone wills'."

The Master who created living beings, earth, sky ,fruits and vegetation, the same Creator has revealed the Holy Quran and then the verse goes on to challenge all those who doubt the Quran to be the word of Allah. Allah challenges those people to try and create just one chapter like the ones in the Book and they can get the help, support, guidance from as many people and jinns(referred to in a similar challenge in Surah Bani Israel) as they want. A similar challenge is given in Surah Younas verse 38, Surah Lut verse 13, Surah Bani Israel verse 88 and Surah Tur verse 34.  Verse 24 informs them of the consequences as well that its not possible that they will succeed in this challenge so they better prepare for the Hell fire which is already burning and the fire will intensify when human bodies are thrown into it. the fuel of the Hell fire has been stated as the human bodies and the stones which implies the idols worshipped by the non-believers.
Glad tidings are for those who accept the Quran as the word of Allah, read it, understand it and act on it as well. for such people Paradise is guaranteed where there will be gardens with flowing rivers and fruits (in the context of all sorts of eatables) that would resemble the corresponding food on earth just to give a sense of comfort and familiarity to the inhabitants of Paradise. But no doubt the fruits of Jannah would be far more delicious in taste. These pious beings will also be blessed with pure partners/spouses (both wives and husbands) -the arabic word "zauj" means spouse. And all these blessing will be eternal.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Surah Al Baqarah ayat 17-20


17. Their example is like the example of one who kindled a fire; then, when it lightened up everything around him, Allah took away their light and left them in darkness. (So) they could not see.
18. They are deaf, dumb, and blind, so they return not (to the Right Path).
19. Or like a rainstorm from the sky, wherein is darkness, thunder, and lightning. They thrust their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunderclap for fear of death. But Allah ever encompasses the disbelievers (i.e. Allah will gather them all together).
20. The lightning almost snatches away their sight, whenever it flashes for them, they walk therein, and when darkness covers them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight. Certainly, Allah has power over all things.

there are two similies (examples) in these verses and there are two schools of thoughts or opinions regarding who these similies are for. the first opinion is that both the similies are for the hypocrites (munafiq) depending on the intensity of their hypocrisy i.e. there is still hope for some hypocrites who can still turn back and gain guidance. while the other group of hypocrites are in complete darkness and they can never get guidance.
the second opinion states that the first similie is for the non-believers (Kafir) and the second similie is for the hypocrites (munafiq). Dr Israr Ahmed agrees with the second school of thought.

so building the discussion on the second school of thought, the non-believers are like those who are in utter darkness and kindle a small light to illuminate the surroundings but Allah then takes away their sight leaving them in complete darkness again and they are dumb, deaf and blind, hence they can never get guidance.
the second similie refers to the hypocrites (munafiq). They walk on the guided path as long as things are in their favour, as long as things are easy they claim to be believers. But as soon as there is a difficulty or a period of trial they back out and move into darkness. They want to play safe to stay safe (i.e. when they see light they move towards it and as soon darkness prevails they stand still and stop walking). And if Allah wanted He can take away their sight and hearing. This implies that these hypocrites still have the chance to escape the wrath of Allah and attain His pleasure by being true believers by accepting the Faith in both good and bad times.