ASK YOURSELF: ARE YOU SACRIFICING OR JUST COMPARING THE PRICES?!
ASK YOURSELF: ARE YOU SACRIFICING OR JUST COMPARING THE PRICES?!
2016 has been one big, mammoth sized life lesson with lots of micro life lessons scuttling around. It sounds cliché but every regret is a lesson in a horror suit and every mistake paves way for a learning curve. As much as I’d love to make the 2016 slogan ‘What’s the new rule for 2017? We don’t talk about 2016!’ something i read once comes to mind that ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ Without waffling on too much, these are my top five lessons learnt.
1) Talk. Talk. Talk. This year I’ve learnt that sometimes its very easy to let certain issues consume your thoughts until you silently become this drowning figure in a pool of stagnant water. Brushing things that are bothering you under the carpet does not get rid of them; it only creates a very unattractive and bumpy carpet. Talking about it with the person involved and finding a solution or common ground is the way forward. “If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best; even though men’s souls are swayed by greed. But if ye do good and practise self-restraint, Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” (4:128)
2) Have a ‘person’. Whether it’s your best friend, family member, work colleague or spouse, make sure you have that one person who you feel you can open up to. “A believer is like a brick for another believer, the one supporting the other.” (Saheeh Muslim)
3) A private life is the best life. With social media taking over the world by storm and the persistent urge to Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook so much of our lives, we are (unknowingly) opening ourselves up to a world of dark traits and diseases. Not everyone you like, likes you and not every ‘follower’ is there for the happy moments. “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good.” (Bukhari)
4) There is a cure for everything and the Qur’an is the best doctor. I don’t think this requires much elaboration. Read the Qur’an and read it in abundance. Move on from your daily Yaseen and Mulk! Reading the Qur’an protects you from so much unseen evil, it purifies you, it grants an unmeasurable level of contentment and hope. “We send down in the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe.” (17:82)
5) Don’t set your dreams too deeply in stone. This one, for some, may be debatable. Sometimes certain things in life may be out of our control, may not be written for us to achieve, may be better for us without, yet we don’t see that. And we make that goal the pinnacle for our completeness, happiness and fulfilment. Yes, don’t be a quitter and never say never but know and accept the moment when you have to shift the focus a little. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t set your happiness too much and too firmly on one thing and one thing only. “You may dislike something although it is good for you, or like something although it is bad for you; God knows but you do not know.” (2:216)
Recently, I came across an article which made my hair stand gave me goose bumps, as I live just next door:
A horrifying statistic about Preston has emerged in new figures about suicide. Preston has the highest suicide rate in the UK compared to other towns and cities. There are nearly 19 suicides each year in the city per 100,000 people. The figures, which come from the Office of National Statistics, are based on the period from 2012-2014. It also shows the suicide rate in Preston has been rising sharply in the last few years.
Highest level of suicide in UK towns and cities
Preston – 18.6
Middlesborough – 17.6
Hastings – 17.4
Blackpool – 17
Warwick – 16.6
A few points we all need to consider, as we all go through hardship, pain and suffering:
“Allah burdens not a soul more than its scope.” (2:286)
Allah only gives you what you can handle, in simple terms. If you cannot deal with it Allah will not give it you. Because as Muslims we believe Allah is al-Hakeem (The Wise), al-Aleem (All Knowing). Allah knows the past and the future.
So why do we feel we can’t cope anymore?
There are numerous reasons to this, first being our sins weighing us down. Excessive sinning leads one to become despondent. Secondly, we have become ungrateful. Instead of counting our blessings, we as humans tend to count our problems more.
“And He giveth you of all that you ask for. But if you count the favours of Allah, never will you be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.” (14:34)
Suicide is increasing in Britain and in Muslims, but it is a major sin in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated that the one who commits suicide will be punished with something like that with which he killed himself.
Why do people commit suicide?
They have had enough of life or they have no hope left that they can carry on. Sometimes Muslims lose hope in Allah SWT and in their religion. They pray, they fast, give charity but Allah’s help doesn’t seem to come or is delayed. This happens to every single one of us in life, some more than others. But is suicide the solution? More importantly, is it permissible to end our own life?
At some point or another we all think about suicide, we all have bad days and ‘very’ bad days. Problems and difficulties are temporary, but remember suicide is not temporary. Do you want to commit suicide to end your life or end the problems you have?
Suicide is not the solution AT ALL. A person must remain positive at all times, life is not perfect. Allah did not promise us a perfect life, otherwise this world would be Jannah.
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The world is a prison for the believer and Paradise for the disbeliever.” (Tirmidhi)
Life is short and temporary, so are the problems and trials and calamities we face in life. Whether you are currently in a state of bliss or depression, “this time will pass.” Nothing lasts forever, not your happiness nor your sadness. This world does not even last forever, it will surely end.
If you think that nobody cares, or is there for you, then you have a loving Lord. Allah SWT loves you.
In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah has one hundred parts of mercy, of which He sent down one between the jinn, mankind, the animals and the insects, by means of which they are compassionate and merciful to one another, and by means of which wild animals are kind to their offspring. And Allah has kept back ninety-nine parts of mercy with which to be merciful to His slaves of the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim, al-Tawbah, 6908)
It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and put him to her breast. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to us, ‘Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?’ We said, ‘No, by Allah, not if she is able not to.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.’” (Agreed upon)
So do not despair in the mercy of Allah, rather turn to him and remember Him. Obey Him and His help will come. If we knew the wisdom behind Allah’s orders and decisions for us, our hearts would burst out of love for Him SWT. We have to understand and accept Allah always does what is best for us.
“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (2:216)
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever throws himself down from a mountain and kills himself will be in the Fire of Hell, throwing himself down therein for ever and ever. Whoever takes poison and kills himself, his poison will be in his hand and he will be sipping it in the Fire of Hell for ever and ever. Whoever kills himself with a piece of iron, that piece of iron will be in his hand and he will be stabbing himself in the stomach with it in the Fire of Hell, for ever and ever.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5442; Muslim, 109.
It was narrated from Thaabit ibn al-Dahhaak (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever kills himself with something in this world will be punished with it on the Day of Resurrection.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5700; Muslim, 110.
From these Hadith it is apparent that, suicide is not permissible in Islam – it is Haram.
Suicide is not kufr that puts a person beyond the pale of Islam as some people think, rather it is a major sin that is subject to the will of Allah on the Day of Resurrection: if He wills, He will forgive it, and if He wills He will punish for it. So do not neglect to make du’aa for them and be sincere in doing so; perhaps that may be the means of Allah forgiving them.
It was narrated that Jundub ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Among those who came before you there was a man who was wounded and he panicked, so he took a knife and cut his hand with it, and the blood did not stop flowing until he died. Allah said: ‘My slave hastened to bring about his demise; I have forbidden Paradise to him.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 3276; Muslim, 113.
A FEW MORE FACTS:
Myth: People who are suicidal want to die.
Fact: The majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have. The distinction may seem small but is in fact very important and is why talking through other options at the right time is so vital.
Myth: Talking about suicide is a bad idea as it may give someone the idea to try it.
Fact: Suicide can be a taboo topic in society. Often, people feeling suicidal don’t want to worry or burden anyone with how they feel and so they don’t discuss it. By asking directly about suicide you give them permission to tell you how they feel. People who have felt suicidal will often say what a huge relief it is to be able to talk about what their experiencing. Once someone starts talking they’ve got a better chance of discovering other options to suicide.
Myth: If a person is serious about killing themselves then there is nothing you can do.
Fact: Often, feeling actively suicidal is temporary, even if someone has been feeling low, anxious or struggling to cope for a long period of time. This is why getting the right kind of support at the right time is so important.
Myth: You have to be mentally ill to think about suicide.
Fact: Most people have thought of suicide from time to time and not all people who die by suicide have mental health problems at the time of death. However, many people who kill themselves do suffer with their mental health, typically to a serious degree. Sometimes it’s known about before the person’s death and sometimes not.
Myth: People who talk about suicide aren’t serious and won’t go through with it.
Fact: People who kill themselves have often told someone that they do not feel life is worth living or that they have no future. Some may have actually said they want to die. While it’s possible that someone might talk about suicide as a way of getting the attention they need, it’s vitally important to take anybody who talks about feeling suicidal seriously.
“The majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have.”
Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (One who is in dire need of Allah’s Forgiveness, Mercy and Pleasure).
If you did not have the ability to perform Hajj this year, worry not. Below are deeds equal to performing Hajj:
1 – Performing the obligatory prayers in congregation:
Abu Dharr (RA) narrated that a group of the Companions came to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), and said, “O Messenger of Allah, the wealthy people will have higher grades and will have permanent enjoyment and they pray like us and fast as we do. They have more money, which they give in charity.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), replied: “Has Allah not rendered for you the ‘Isha’ prayer in congregation equal to Hajj, and the Fajr prayer in congregation equal to ‘Umrah?”
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), said: “Whoever walks to [perform] an obligatory prayer in congregation, it is like Hajj [in terms of rewards], and whoever walks to [perform] a voluntary prayer, it is like a voluntary ‘Umrah [in terms of rewards].”
2 – Reciting Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah) after the five daily prayers:
Abu Hurayrah (Ra) narrated that a group of destitute people came to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), and said, “O Messenger of Allah, the wealthy people will have higher grades and will have permanent enjoyment in high levels in Paradise. They pray like us and fast as we do, but they have more money by which they perform the Hajj, ‘Umrah, participate in Jihaad and give in charity.”
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), replied: “Shall I not tell you something upon which if you acted you would catch up with those who have surpassed you? Nobody would surpass you and you would be better than the people amongst whom you live except those who would do the same. Say ‘Subhan Allah’, ‘Alhamdulillah’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’ thirty-three times each after every (compulsory) prayer.’” [Al-Bukhari]
3 – Praying Fajr with congregation & remaining seated in worship until after Sunrise:
The Prophet (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: ‘He who performs Fajr Salat with Jamaat (congregation) and remains seated in the same place while engaging in Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) until after sunrise and thereafter performs 2 Rakats Nawafil Salat, (Ishraq), he will obtain the Thawab (reward) of one Hajj and one Umrah.’ [Tirmidhi]
From `Abdullah bin `Aamir (RA) that Abu Umamah and `Utbah Bin `Abd (RA) related that Allah’s Messenger, (Sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever prays as-Subh. (i.e. Fajr prayer) in congregation then sits until he prays for Allah the prayer of Dhuha has the reward like that of a haajj (pilgrim performing Hajj) and a mu`tamir (pilgrim peforming `Umrah), complete reward of his Hajj and his `Umrah”
4 – Going to the Masjid to teach and learn carries the reward of Hajj
Abu Umamah al-Bahili (RA) that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
من غدا إلى المسجد لا يريد إلا أن يتعلم خيرا أو يعلمه كان له كأجر حاج تاما حجته
“Whoever goes to the masjid, wanting nothing except to teach what is good or to learn, will have the reward of a completed Hajj.”
[Tabarani, Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 7348 and others]
5 – To recite “SubhanAllah” 100 times in the morning and evening.
عن عبد الله بن عمرو رضي الله عنهما قال قال رسول الله صلى الله علي وسلم:
من سبح الله مائة بالغداة ومائة بالعشي كان كمن حج مائة مرة…الخ
رواه الترمذي (3471) وقال: حسن غريب.
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (Ra) reported That Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “He who recites SubhanAllah 100 times in the morning and another 100 times in the evening is like one who performed Haj 100 times!”
[Sunan Tirmidhi, hadith: 3471 with a sound chain]
6 – Performing the Friday Prayer
Sa`id bin al-Musayyib (RA) said performing the Friday Prayer is “more beloved to me than a supererogatory (voluntary) Hajj.”
[Hafidh Ibn ‘Asakir (RA) has quoted a similar virtue via Imam Al-Awza’i (Ra). Hafidh Ibn Rajab (RA) also supported this content with two Ahadith]
7 – Fulfilling the needs of your brother or sister
Hasan Al-Basri (RA) said: “Your proceeding to fulfil the need a fellow Muslim is better for you than one Hajj after another!”
[Also quoted By Zabeedi (Ra) in Sharhul Ihyaa, vol.6 pg.292]
8 – Being good to your parents
Anas (RA) reports that a man came to Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and said: “I wish to participate in Jihaad, but I cannot afford it” Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) enquired if any of his parents were alive, to which he said: “Yes! My mother is alive” Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Show Allah how you serve her. If you do so (duly) you will be like a: Haaji, a Mu’tamir (one doing ‘Umrah) and a Mujaahid (One striving in Allah’s way).”
[Abu Ya’la, hadith:2760, and Tabarani with good chains.-Targheeb, vol.3, pg. 315 & Mukhtasar Ithaaf, hadith:5721]
9 – Observing the 10 days of I’tikaf:
Ali Ibn Hussain (RA) narrates from his father that Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “He who observes the ten days I’tikaf during Ramadhan will obtain the reward of two Hajj & two Umrah.”
10 – Performing Umrah in Ramadan
Ibn `Abbas (RA) said that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said to a woman from among the Ansaar — Ibn `Abbas mentioned her name but I forgot it — “What kept you from performing Hajj with us?” She said, “We only have two camels,” and the father of her son and her son had gone for Hajj on one camel, and he left the other camel so that they could carry water on it. He said, “When Ramadan comes, go for ‘Umrah, for ‘Umrah in (Ramadhan) is equivalent to Hajj.”
[Al-Bukhari (1782) and Muslim (1256)]
1st Dhul Hijah 1437
Ibnul Jawzi (Rahimahullah) narrates that a pious person once mentioned:
I once entered Egypt where I found a blacksmith who would extract iron from his furnace using nothing but his bare hands! He would then place the iron on his anvil and turn it with his hands without apparently experiencing any pain whatsoever.
On witnessing this extraordinary spectacle, I thought to myself, “This must most definitely be a very pious man if the fire does not harm him!” With this in mind, I drew close to him and greeted him with salaam to which he replied. I thereafter addressed him in the following words, “O my master! I beseech you in the name of that Being who favoured you with this miracle to please make du‘aa for me!” On hearing my request, the blacksmith began to cry and exclaimed, “My brother! By Allah! I am not the pious person that you think me to be!” To this exclamation, I replied, “O my brother! This miracle which I witnessed from you is something which only the pious people are able to carry out.” The blacksmith answered, “There is a strange incident behind the miracle you speak of.” At my request, the blacksmith thereafter recounted the following incident:
I was once sitting in this business of mine, in a state of intense preoccupation, when I suddenly realized that there was a woman before me. On glancing at her, I beheld a face which possessed beauty the like of which I had never seen before. The woman addressed me and pleaded saying, “O my brother! Do you have anything to give us for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala?” I was, by this point, captivated by her sight and infatuated by her beauty. I therefore replied, “Why don’t you accompany me to my home where I will give you something that will see to your needs?” On hearing my suggestion, she looked at me in silence for some time and eventually turned and departed from my business. After some time had passed, however, she returned and submitted, “Dire necessity has forced me to accept your offer.” I therefore locked my business and proceeded home with her.
When we reached my residence, she begged me saying, “I have children whom I have left in extreme starvation. Please give me something that I can take to them! I will return to you thereafter.” After making her promise and vow that she would return, I gave her some dirhams and watched as she left to see to her children. When she returned, I ushered her into my home and turned to lock the door. “Why are you locking the door?” she asked. “I fear the people.” I replied. “And why do you not fear the Lord of all the people?” she enquired. “He is Forgiving and Merciful.” I retorted. I then advanced towards her and found that tears were streaming down her cheeks in torrents and she was trembling, just as palm leaves tremble beneath the force of a gale. “Why are you trembling and crying?” I asked. “Out of the fear of Allah Ta‘ala.” she answered.
The woman then turned to me and pleaded saying, “If you leave me for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala, I will stand guarantee that Allah Ta‘ala will neither punish you with fire in this world nor in the next.” When I heard her say this, I was shaken and instantly stood and gave her all that I owned saying, “I have left you out of the fear of Allah Ta‘ala!”
A while after she had left, I fell asleep and had a dream in which I saw a woman wearing a crown of red rubies who had the most beautiful face that I had ever seen. She said to me, “May Allah Ta‘ala reward you well on our behalf.” Who are you?” I asked. “I am the mother of the girl whom you left out of the fear of Allah Ta‘ala. May Alah Ta‘ala never punish you with fire, neither in this world nor the next.” I next said to her, “Please tell me who she is and which family she is from.” To this the woman replied, “She is from the family of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).” It was then that I remembered the verse of the Qur’aan in which Allah Ta‘ala mentions: “Allah only intends to keep (all sorts of) filth away from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet), and to make you pure through a perfect purification.”
When I awoke from my sleep, I found that the fire of this world could not harm me. I have hope that the fire of the Hereafter will not harm me as well. (Al-Mawaa‘iz wal Majaalis libnil Jawzi RH pg. 219)
1. The way to extinguish the fire of Jahannum is for us to extinguish the fire of our nafs and desires.
2. If we introduce a person to an evil habit or sin, we will have a share of the burden to bear every time he commits it. On the other hand, if we are instrumental in assisting someone to abstain from sin or change their lives for the better, we will continue to receive reward so long as that person is benefiting from our advice and encouragement.
3. We do not know which action or which person’s du‘aa will be the means of drawing the special mercy of Allah Ta‘ala. As such, we should never consider any good action to be insignificant or risk losing the du‘aa of any person.
4. A person who wishes to commit a sin should fear the punishment of Allah Ta‘ala as His forgiveness is for those who sincerely repent and wish to change their lives.
5. A believer should meditate, for a few minutes daily, over the reality that Allah Ta‘ala is watching him at all times.
6. The family of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is the greatest of all Royal Families. Hence they should be shown the absolute greatest level of respect and honour that should be shown to people.
13 Dhul Qa’dah 1437
The parting words of teachers to their students are expected to be remembered long after Steinbeck’s themes, spoken language styles and DAFOREST are forgotten. We’re usually expected to give academia related advice, tell you how to succeed in college, the secret to surviving university and how to pass those essential exams, however, all of that comes secondary to, what I believe, is the biggest and most important umbrella: your Islamic identity.
Islamic identity is your utmost possession. It is the only identification that really matters. It is your faith, your religion, your moral values, and your whole life. This identity is the one that makes you wake up before sunrise to pray. This identity is the one that makes you kind, sincere, responsible, and thoughtful when you deal with people. This identity is the one that stops you from any immoral behaviour. This identity is the one that makes you realise and understand that Islam is a way of life.
You will leave this school and begin the next stage of your journey. You’ll change trains. You’ll catch your next flight. You’ll move houses. You’ll lose touch with many friends and end up with new friends in new places doing new things. You will be faced with times when difficult decisions will have to be made based on the sort of people that accompany you. Your friends will help to either make or break your identity. Ask yourself, do you ever feel uncomfortable because of their habits? Their character? Their suggestions? Their outlook on life? I’m not telling you to judge their lifestyles but simply gauge the level of influence they have on you.
‘A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend’ (Abu Dawood/Tirmidhi).
Be strong, be vocal and learn to make your own decisions based on your Muslim identity.
I wish and pray for success in all your endeavours but at the same time, I want to say that should you ever fail at anything in life, do not let it demotivate you, do not be afraid. Failure at some point in life is inevitable and healthy. Use your failure as stepping stones to success and strive even harder. Failure is not fatal and learning from your mistakes and refining your techniques is how you grow in life.
‘A believer is not bitten from the same hole twice’ (Bukhari/Muslim).
It is vital to be aware, conscious and perceptive and not to repeat the same mistake twice, whether that is in your personal life or academic; learn from your bad experiences.