The Dangerous Relationship Between Money & Dawah

http://www.islam21c.com/islamic-thought/muslim-speakers-dawah-money/

All praises be to Allāh, and may peace and blessings be upon His prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). By the grace of Allāh, the following remarks are not indicative of most Du’āt and scholars, but it is nonetheless a growing problem which needs to be nipped in the bud…

Introduction

I have been contemplating talking about the issue of Muslim speakers charging a lot of money for “Dawah” for a long time. Although I was initially reluctant to speak about it, I came to the decision to do so as the problem is getting no better. I feel that treatment for this problem should be sought and the issue can no longer be taken lightly. The key issue for me is the fact that Muslim speakers are among the carriers of the legacy of our Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). As such, whether they realise it not, they are role models for Muslim communities. Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says,

“Allāh will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge…”[1]

Likewise His Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

“Scholars are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets bequeath neither dinar nor dirham, rather their inheritance is knowledge, so whoever acquires it has gained a great share.”[2]

Dawah (calling) to Allāh is the noblest activity a person can be involved in. Allāh says in the Quran,

“And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allāh and does righteousness and says, ‘Indeed, I am of the Muslims!’?”[3]

This should not be treated as a job otherwise it will lose its spirit and the main factors that instil it with the power of influence: Barakah (divine blessing) and Ikhlās (true sincerity). These are not just two common Islamic words used to describe what is needed for giving simple reminders in Masājid. Rather, they are the fundamental ingredients for any successful Islamic movement that aims to transform complex societies. Hence, preachers, callers to Islām, speakers, students of knowledge and scholars need to build them and maintain them in themselves first, before asking others to have them. No Dawah will flourish and be successful, no matter how “professional looking” it may be, without the blessings of Allāh – which is a reward for the truthfulness of the people behind it. Allāh taught us the supplication of the Prophet Shuʿayb (ʿalayhi al-Salām):

“And my success is not but through Allāh. Upon Him I have relied, and to Him I return”.[4]

Allāh also says:

“And if only the people of the cities had believed and feared Allāh, We would have opened upon them blessings from the sky and the earth; but they denied [the messengers], so We seized them for what they were earning.”[5]

The Muslim community should also protect their Imāms, scholars and speakers. Although these remarks might be seen as criticism of Islamic speakers and scholars, they should also serve as a protection for them against their nafs (self; ego) and the temptations of earthly wealth. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) warned us that there is nothing more fearful and destructive to a person’s Dīn than the fitna (trial) of wealth and fame.

“Two hungry wolves set upon the midst of a flock of sheep are no more destructive to them than a man’s greed for wealth and fame is to his Dīn.’‘[6]

Muslim speakers should acknowledge that the fitna and desire for wealth and money are the second and third biggest temptations of the triangle of temptations: women, wealth and fame. Hence, they should read this article with a positive mind-set while seeking to improve and rectify their shortcomings. To illustrate what we are talking about, what follows are some unfortunate examples of the wrong practices that are becoming more and more common when Dawah organisations invite speakers to deliver Islamic courses or lectures.

It must be stressed, however, that this is not the case for Dawah in general, al-Hamdu lillāh. A great multitude of Imāms, du’āt and scholars continue to uphold the lofty standards set by the example of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). This is why the rise of this problem is all the more crucial to highlight and nip in the bud before it begins to tarnish the carriers and conveyors of Prophetic guidance.

Real life examples of the problem

– A speaker was invited to a city to attend a conference. During his stay in the city he visited a mosque for a Friday prayer. For whatever reason, the Khatīb of the mosque was not present and the speaker was approached and asked to deliver the khutbah in the mosque in the city in which he was already present. He said he would do so if he were paid an extra £1,000.

– A speaker delivered a lecture at an event. After this he sat amongst the members of the audience. There so happened to be a 10 to 15 minute segment in which a brother was supposed to offer reminders to the audience but he was unable to do so. The organisers asked the speaker to cover these 15 minutes. He requested an extra £200 to step out of his chair and share a reminder with the audience.

– One speaker was invited to speak at an event as it was known he would be travelling nearby on his way back to his home country. The organisers requested he make a stop-over at their event and offered to pay the difference in the journey. The speaker agreed to attend on condition that his entire travel expense be paid for, including the full price of his ticket. He requested a stay at a 5-star hotel as it would be a 12 hour stop over, and he later called to inform the organisers that he would be bringing his wife and required her ticket to be paid for as well.

– An Imām was invited to lead Tarāwīḥ prayers in a mosque in Ramadān. Because his recitation was widely appreciated, the mosque requested he extend his time leading the prayers each night from one hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. For extending his Salah for fifteen minutes, the Imām demanded more money.

– Some speakers even assign their personal assistants to speak on their behalf. They claim they are professionals and hence ask for “professional” contracts between the organisation of the speaker and the organisation inviting the speaker. I was shown a “professional” contract in which a speaker outlined his payment demands and stipulated that if the money was not paid on time a charge of 20% would be added to the fee. Perhaps they thought that charging riba (interest) is part of “professionalism”!

This is becoming ridiculous. The sorts of things some speakers are asking to be paid for or compensated are getting out of hand. The organisations that are inviting them are usually grassroots organisations that depend on donations from the public sphere. These organisations have budgets managed by the penny in order to run their activities and events, and yet, some of our speakers, our shuyūkh and our du’āt are demanding business class flights, specific types of beds, chauffeurs, masseuses and all manner of luxury. A brother in an Islamic organisation once told me that a speaker specifically defined Evian bottled water as the only water he drinks!

– I was once invited to a particular country to take part in a conference for a new organisation. They invited a number of speakers from different countries and they offered all of us business class flights. As this is a far away country, the business class would cost them unbelievable amounts of money. I thought of the poor children who are dying everyday due to hunger across that country and of myself taking a business class flight to that country, or to any other country, for Dawah. I remembered how Sheikh ʿAbdulraḥman al-Sumait (raḥimahu Allāhu), the most active Muslim preacher in that same region, used to travel for over 30 years in many such countries to deliver real Dawah. I also remembered Sheikh Sāliḥ al-Hussayyin, a senior scholar of Saudi Arabia who was also the Chief of the Administration of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques. His position and family made it feasible for him to travel in first or business class, and yet, he refused to do so as he was giving Dawah; in fact there were reports that he used to sleep in a masjid instead of in hotels during his travels.

While I thought of this, I was so embarrassed that I could not bring myself to accept the offer to travel in business class for Dawah. When I arrived there, I found that all the other speakers had accepted the offer. No one denied it! I was utterly confused.

I showed my surprise at the offer and the acceptance of the offer despite the financial difficulties this organisation—and in fact its whole country—was going through. Their answer was simply: We never requested it, we just accepted their offer.

After my answer for a question regarding this issue was uploaded online, I received so many messages from many brothers, sisters and organisers who were suffering in silence. They provided detailed examples of speakers’ demands. A brother sent me the following:

“It’s a big crisis! I’ve seen du’āt who asked for £6K per day! One speaker from the U.S. asked for £75K for one weekend. Two speakers wouldn’t pray Tarāwīḥ in Ramaḍān when on tour and, instead, spent their nights playing PlayStation games in their hotel rooms. Some speakers have a list of restaurants they will eat in and refuse to eat anywhere else. Some are driven by brothers for an entire tour but don’t even bother to learn the brother’s name because ‘he’s only a driver’. Some even refuse to give reminders after jamaʿah prayer during Ramaḍān and when they do finally say some words, they repeat the exact same reminder that has been on their YouTube channel for years; nothing new.”

Another brother told me a speaker asked for 50% of the money that was raised during a fundraising event. Another told me about a speaker who was getting £1,500 every day in Ramaḍān for fundraising for different organisations. A fourth brother told me about an organisation that arranged a tour for an Imām leading Tarāwīḥ in Ramaḍān who was charging mosques or halls £5,000 per night. A speaker requested through his “secretary” a First Class ticket for making a journey within Europe, which would not take more than two hours despite the fact that it is four times the price of the Standard class.

Some of these examples are incomprehensible; the most ridiculous one being that the director of an Islamic organisation told me of a speaker who asked for 5 personal assistants to accompany him for his journey to deliver two or three talks in a conference. His justification was,

“We should not accept that actors and footballers are paid more than Islamic preachers.”

It is an unfortunate truth that on many occasions, many speakers from many countries seem to be more keen to capitalise on people’s needs. It is not about £10 or £1,000. The problem is the concept and the attitude some of these speakers have; that they would make inordinate demands to give Dawah, to give reminders to people, to lead Salāh. This is not Dawah, this is a holiday and a business.

Double Standards – Actions Speak Louder Than Words

The matter here is not about whether it is ḥalāl or ḥarām to make money from giving Dawah. One of the many issues we have towards this attitude is the double standards of these speakers who promote one manner of living and yet they take advantage of others to live another lifestyle. As speakers we are quick to quote a number of āyāt on the distractions of the life of this world, those āyāt that confirm that this life is merely an amusement or game.

“Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allāh and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.”[7]

As speakers we encourage people to be fearful of Allāh so that they may be charitable and not be so indulged in the Dunya. We remind our listeners of the ḥadīth of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) who said, “Is not the world cursed and everything in it? It is so except for the remembrance of Allāh and what facilitates it…”[8] or his (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) advice to fear the Dunya.

Abū Saʿīd Khudri reported that Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

“The world is sweet and green (alluring) and verily Allāh is going to install you as vicegerent in it in order to see how you act. So avoid the allurement of women: verily, the first trial for the people of Isrā’īl was caused by women. (And in the ḥadīth transmitted on the authority of Ibn Bashshar the words are:) so that He should see how you act.”[9]

How could I possibly discourage people from being so immersed in the luxury of the Dunya and then be the first one to chase its luxury and decoration?

Requesting travelling expenses or other such necessary expenses is understandable. Even requesting, openly and honestly, that you would appreciate any money the organisation is able to pay is acceptable, although it is not necessarily the best. But, why must it be a First Class flight? Why must it be a 5-star hotel? Why must the room be a particular width and length with a particular window view? We must bring an end to such nonsense and extravagance.

As a courier of the words of Allāh and His Messenger, I should feel embarrassed to ask for luxurious enticements of the Dunya that I have no need for. If we were to tell people who donate their money to our organisations that their money would go to pay for the luxury and ostentation of certain speakers we could be sure they would decline the need to listen to these speakers. Here I ask every single speaker who requests luxury treatment: do you really care for the hundreds of thousands of children who die every day due to a lack of basic necessities? If you are talking about Dawah and caring for people’s religion, then you should ask yourself whether you care for thousands of poor people who leave Islām due to evangelicals taking advantage of their financial needs.

Examples from the life of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)

In response to what I am sure is the primary ‘reason’ behind these speakers’ demands—that they have families to support—I must ask: Is this lecture you are going to deliver the only source of income you have? And, if it is so, do not make a business out of it. Dawah is not meant to be business or to make money. This leads us to another important point which is the need for Muslims to establish their own institutions that can fund these speakers. It is a call for businessmen to sponsor not only Dawah projects but imāms, scholars and speakers. Until then, speakers should remember that they are the leaders for the Ummah and leaders are required to sacrifice more than the rest of the Ummah. This is how all our leading predecessors lived their lives following the model of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam):

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was seen by ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) with dust on his clothes from having slept on the floor. ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) wished to provide the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) with a more comfortable bed and the reply was,

“What have I to gain in this world? The like of this world is as that of a traveller who is travelling in the sun and he sits under a tree momentarily and then gets up and continues on.”[10]

It was narrated that ʿĀ’ishah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanha) said: The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) never ate his fill of wheat bread for three days in a row, until he passed away.[11]

She (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanha) also said: We used to look at the new moon, then the new moon, then the new moon, three new moons in two months, and no fire would be lit in the houses of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). She was asked: What did you live on? She said: The two black ones, dates and water, but the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) had some neighbours from among the Ansār and they had milk-animals; they would send some of their milk to the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and he would give it to us to drink.[12]

It was narrated from her (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanha) that she said: The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) died when there was nothing on my shelf that a living being could eat except a handful of barley.[13]

And she (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanha) said: When the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) died, he had not eaten his fill of bread and olive oil twice in one day.[14]

It was narrated that an-Nuʿmān b. Bashīr (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said: ʿUmar mentioned what people had got of worldly gains and he said: I saw the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) spending the whole day suffering because of hunger, and he could not even find inferior-quality dates with which to fill his stomach.[15]

It was narrated from Anas b. Mālik (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) that the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) never ate soft bread or a roasted sheep until he met Allāh.[16]

It was narrated that Ibn ʿAbbās (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said: The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) would remain hungry for several nights in a row, and his family would not be able to find any supper, and most of their bread was barley bread.[17]

It was narrated from Abū Hurayrah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) that the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) used to tie a stone to his stomach because of hunger.[18]

ʿAmr b. al-Hārith (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said: The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) left nothing behind except his weapon, his white mule and some land that he left behind as a charity.[19]

We could go on and on in describing the life of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) but I hope this will suffice for our speakers, imāms and duʿāt. Unfortunately, some will not be convinced and would still argue that this was the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and they cannot be like him. They may also say that the context has changed. It is for this reason I am dedicating an entire, and rather lengthy, article to discussing this issue.

Making money from Dawah:

On another note, it should be mentioned that scholars have differed on whether taking money to teach Qur’ān in particular or Islamic knowledge in general is acceptable. The two opinions are:

(i) that it should be taught for free;

(ii) that it is permissible to accept payment for it.

Each side has his own evidence and proofs and hence there is not much point of using these textual evidences themselves to give preference for one opinion over the other. Rather, we should focus on what is agreeable by all or most of the scholars. The speakers, when taking money for delivering lectures or any Islamic activity, should bear in mind some key points:

I. Their intention should not be money, wealth, the Dunya or doing business. Rather, it should be Dawah. Receiving salary or compensation should be, at best, a secondary intention. The best rule to apply here is what Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned regarding taking money to perform Ḥajj. If we make Ḥajj for someone with the intention of making money our Ḥajj will be invalid, however, if we accept money in order to facilitate us making Ḥajj then, inshā’Allāh, we receive the reward of Ḥajj. Similarly, we may take money to be able to give Dawah, but we should not give Dawah in order to take money.

II. Speakers should not take advantage of the situation as it means that they are using Dawah for a personal gain. Furthermore, it is unethical to take financial advantage of situations related to the Dīn. I have seen speakers take advantage while staying in the hotel as it was paid for by the organisers. In a single night, one speaker made a telephone call which cost more than £130. Another speaker was eating and drinking as if he had been starving for a year.

III. In the case of the speaker who does not have a job, then he should deal with Dawah as he would deal with a job, expecting similar payment, contractual agreements, penalties or even compensation. However, some du’āt and speakers have business managers to run the financial issues related to his Dawah. Before agreeing to deliver a lecture, the organisers have to go through a nightmare in negotiating the terms and conditions with personal assistants or business managers. If the speaker is in a difficult financial situation I recommend he make a request of the organisers to be given anything they can afford by way of a gift or help. He should not make it the fee for his talk. 

Anas b. Mālik narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam):

“Whoever makes the Hereafter his goal, Allāh makes his heart rich, and organises his affairs, and the world comes to him whether it wants to or not. And whoever makes the world his goal, Allāh puts his poverty right before his eyes, and disorganises his affairs, and the world does not come to him, except what has been decreed for him.”[20]

IV. Speakers should remember that whatever amount of money they save an organisation will be considered as Sadaqah given by them. When the speaker avoids requesting luxury accommodation, transportation or food, then he is actually saving some money that will later be used for Dawah.

V. Speakers should remember that any behaviour can be given a justification. However, they should remember that they are dealing with Allāh. Allāh is supervising all of our actions.

“Rather, man, against himself, will be a witness, Even if he presents his excuses.”[21]

VI. It is impermissible, in many cases, for Muslim organisations to spend Dawah money on luxuries or what is beyond the need. Examples include business class tickets, expensive hotels, food and transportation or even spending money. The fundamental principle is, Sadaqah money is to be spent according to what it was requested for along with the intention of the giver. The organisation is just an agent to distribute the money on behalf of the giver and hence they do not have the freedom to spend it the way they decide. This is a topic I will elaborate on in further detail in another article, inshāAllāh.

My dear brothers and sisters, we have to remember that Allāh is our Master and our Lord. He owns everything and He controls everything. He turns the heart of people and He aids those who aid His Dīn. He is the one who said,

“O you who have believed, if you support Allāh, He will support you and plant firmly your feet.”[22]

Hence, we should remember that no matter how hard we try to be successful in our Dawah, the first element for success of our Dawah comes from Allāh. He (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) gives success in Dawah to those whom He knows are honest, sincere and truthful about Dawah.

“And Allāh will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allāh is Powerful and Exalted in Might.”[23]

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Al-Qur’ān, 58:11

[2] Narrated by Tirmidhi, Abū Dāwūd and others.

[3] Al-Qur’ān, 41:33

[4] Al-Qur’ān, 11:88

[5] Al-Qur’an 7:96

[6] At-Tirmidhi

[7] Al-Qur’ān, 57:20

[8] Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2322

[9] Reported by Saḥīḥ Muslim, no 2742.

[10] Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2377, Book 36, Hadith 74

[11] Narrated by al-Bukhāri (5374) and Muslim (2970)

[12] Narrated by al-Bukhāri (2567) and Muslim (2972)

[13] Narrated by al-Bukhāri (3097) and Muslim (2973)

[14] Muslim (2974)

[15] Muslim (2978)

[16] Narrated by al-Bukhāri (5385)

[17] Narrated by at-Tirmidhi (2360); classed as Ḥasan by al-Albāni in Saḥīḥ at-Tirmidhi

[18] Narrated by Ibn al-A‘rābi in al-Mu‘jam (21); classed as Ḥasan by al-Albāni in as-Silsilah as-Saḥīḥah (1615)

[19] Narrated by al-Bukhāri (3098)

[20] Tirmidhi Vol. 4, Book 11, Ḥadīth 2465. Some scholars believe that it is strong and some believe that it is weak.

[21] Al-Qur’ān, 75:14-15

[22] Al-Qur’ān, 47:7

[23] Al-Qur’ān, 22:40

Advertisements

Du‘ā – A Great Gift

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

 As believers, we all have a deep yearning to attach ourselves to our Merciful and Gracious Creator. Even the sinful aspire to do something that will please their Master and bring them closer to Him. Out of His sheer Grace and Mercy, Allāh ta‘ālā has created many ways for us to acquire this closeness. One of these is du‘ā.

Du‘ā holds special significance among the many important and spiritually uplifting forms of worship we have been bestowed with. It is an act extremely liked by Allāhta‘ālā as it represents the height of humbleness and submission to the Creator. It is for this reason it has been termed the ‘essence of ‘ibādah’ and even simply ‘‘ibādah’. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam states:

Du‘ā is the essence of ‘ibādah. (At-Tirmidhī) 

Du‘ā is ‘ibādah. (At-Tirmidhī)

Du‘ā is so important that Allāh ta‘ālā becomes displeased when His bondsman neglects it. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam states:

Allāh becomes angry with the person who does not ask from Him. (At-Tirmidhī)

By making du‘ā, we create a special connection with Allāh ta‘ālā whereby love for Him increases, faith in Him strengthens and the doors of boundless mercy are opened for us. If we do not ask from our Creator, we will never be able to create that special relationship.

Take the example of two people, one who is poor and needy and the other who is wealthy and eager to find opportunities to assist the needy. If the poor man were never to ask the rich man for assistance, he would never develop any relationship with him. However, by asking for assistance, a degree of recognition is created. If, at every time of need, he asked the rich person for help, and the rich person gave, then this would surely create love for the rich man in the poor man’s heart. Similarly, witnessing the helplessness and neediness of the poor man, mercy would increase in the heart of the rich man, and he would regard this needy person instrumental in gaining the Pleasure of the Creator. He would advise the poor man not to be hesitant in asking him for help whenever the need arises. Soon the relationship would become such that the rich man would not wait for the poor man to ask, but would bestow his generosity upon him even before that. This is just an example of how mere mortals would behave; the Mercy and Grace of Allāh ta‘ālā are beyond imagination!

Remember, du‘ā is the weapon of the believer. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallamsaid:

Verily, du‘ā is beneficial against that (affliction) which has descended as well as that which has not [yet] descended; so hold fast, O bondsmen of Allāh, to du‘ā. (At-Tirmidhī)

So we should always remain steadfast with du‘ā. Holding fast to the following points will inshā’allāh  help in this regard:

1. We need to create a habit of asking Allāh ta‘ālā for all our needs in every situation. Whether a matter is big or small, difficult or easy, we should turn to Allāhta‘ālā. Our attitude should be that even in circumstances where we are fully confident of success, du‘ā is still our first step. Even for trivial everyday needs we need to adopt the habit of turning to Allāh ta‘ālā. Our first recourse should be du‘ā and thereafter asbāb (means). Unfortunately, our approach is to turn to asbāb first and then to du‘ā, or more precisely, when the asbāb do not deliver the desired result we turn to du‘ā. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has advised us that even if the strap of a sandal breaks, we should ask Allāh ta‘ālā first before going about getting it repaired. (At-Tirmidhī)

2. Make it a practice to say a short du‘ā after every good deed, whether you are in need or not. In reality we are always in need, but sometimes we get the impression that we have no needs. Our circumstances all look favourable; we are healthy, we have sufficient finances, we have security, our children are obedient, etc. The question is: Can we be sure that these circumstances will remain same? We also need to think a little deeper: is my death on Īmān guaranteed? What about the stages of the grave? How will I fare on the Day of Resurrection? In reality, we are always in need and so should always adopt the habit of making du‘ā, even for a short while, after every good deed. If we are short of time, then there are some very concise yet comprehensive supplications which we can make at such moments, e.g.

3. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has taught us many beautiful supplications for various occasions that are amazing in their precision, conciseness, depth of meaning and appropriateness to the occasion. Contemplating their meanings increases one’s faith and love for Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. This is such a great favour of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam upon us that we can never repay even if we were to spend our entire lives sending salutations upon him.

    Prior to my recent operation, I thought it opportune to request my akābir (elders) to make du‘ā for me. Amongst those who are especially affectionate to me is my respected Shaykh, Hadrat Mawlānā Qamaruz-zamān sāhib hafizahullāh. During our conversation, only moments before the operation, Hadrat advised me to recite one of the supplications of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam that Hadrat Shāh Wasīyullāh sāhib rahimahullāh used to frequently read.

    O Allāh, I ask You for a pure life and a peaceful death and a return that is neither disgraceful nor dishonourable.

 

    Although, this supplication is of a general nature and not stipulated for this particular situation, however, whilst pondering over the meaning of this du‘ā, I felt as if it was especially devised for the very situation I was in. All supplications of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam are priceless gems, if only we were to value them. We should learn them and make them part of our daily lives. This will also help us maintain the remembrance of Allāh ta‘ālā throughout the day.

4. There are also many supplications of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam that are not specific to any occasion. Our mashāyikh have gone to great lengths to compile these in book form so that we can benefit from them. We should make it a practice to read these compilations so that we can reap their benefits in both worlds.

    Two famous compilations are Al-Hizb Al-A‘zam and Munājāt-e-Maqbūl. It is best if we can read both daily, otherwise at least one. If this is also difficult then at the least the abridged version of Al-Hizb Al-A‘zam should be read. Similarly, Allāh ta‘ālāgranted me the tawfīq to compile those supplications in which Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam sought refuge from certain things. This compilation, called Al-Mu‘awwadhāt, will also bring great benefit if included in one’s daily practices. Istighfār is also a form du‘ā. I was also granted the tawfīq to compile the phrases of istighfār from the Qur’ān in a small booklet, and this will also be of great benefit as part of one’s daily practices.

Let us hold fast to du‘ā. It is a priceless gift and powerful tool granted to us by Allāh ta‘ālā and we should recognise it as such. We should not regard the great gift of du‘ā as a burdensome ritual carried out without any real interest or understanding of its importance.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 23 No. 11, Nov 2014)

Bringing Barakah into Our Lives

By Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf

http://www.zamzamacademy.com/2014/06/bringing-barakah-into-our-lives/

dhikr

Life in this world, especially in this day and age, is a struggle. We all know that life in this world is temporary and a test, and a stepping stone to the hereafter, which is the real life. So, what can we do in this world that has the greatest benefit for us, both in this life and the hereafter

There is a hadith in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) says that the Day of Judgement will not come until a time when people will be respected and honoured out of  fear, and the most successful person (in this world) will be the base born, son of a base born.

Have we now reached this time? We live in a society where we have celebrities and superstars who are famous simply for being famous! Young boys and girls grow up wanting to be famous just like them, without thinking of the consequences of it.  Today, the easiest way for people to gain recognition is to commit the worst of acts, and such people are the ones young people want to emulate.

To achieve fame because someone has done something good for society or excelled in a particular field is not a problem, and fame can come as a result of dedication and hard work. Everyone has the potential to achieve great heights and do something that brings perpetual reward, even after death. For example, we say rahimahumullah (may Allah have mercy on them) when we remember the great scholars of the past because of the mark they have left on this world. Every time we mention their names, we ask Allah to have mercy on them. This is a real achievement and real ‘fame,’ which has been bestowed upon them due to their hard work.

How did they manage to achieve so much in their short time in this world, such a status that hundreds of years after their deaths we still pray for them? The answer is that their lives had a special enriching component granted by Allah. This ingredient is barakah.

Barakah, the special component

Barakah can be defined as the “attachment of divine goodness to a thing”. In other words, it is the direct help and blessing of Allah Most High. It can only come from Him, and if it is present in something it can transform the nature of that thing and make it more valuable. With a sincere intention to assist others and by making supplication to Allah, He can take our ability, accept it and turn it into something great. As humans, our capabilities can only take us so far. The additional help of Allah is required so that we can fulfil our potential.

An example of His barakah can be seen in a story of a man who was once driving a visiting scholar around London. As they were about to embark on the journey, the man noticed that his car was running low on fuel and that he would have to make a stop soon to fill the car up. During the journey, he became engrossed in conversation with his guest and completely forgot about refuelling, continuing to drive for over an hour. Only later did he realise that he had driven for longer than would have been normally possible with the amount of fuel he had started with. In fact, the fuel gauge had barely moved! This is a clear manifestation of baraka.

Of course, it is not always the case that barakah will manifest itself so openly. We must work hard and pray continuously for barakah. If barakah was granted as soon as we asked for it, it would appear too magical and miraculous for this world, and it would also be taken for granted. We must not become disheartened and lose hope if we confront some difficulties at times. Instead, we must continue to do our best, to ask Allah for his blessing and leave the rest up Him.

In some aspects of life, barakah is more important than in others. Marriage is one of these aspects. We are supposed to be with our spouses in paradise, insha Allah. So baraka in a marriage will help the relationship develop into a strong bond for eternity. In fact, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) used the word barakah twice in one du’a for a newly married couple.

Other areas of life where we should ask for blessing are in our time and wealth. Baraka in wealth gives one contentment and satisfaction and one feels that they are receiving value for their money. Nowadays, despite the fact that technology and other material possessions are there to make our lives easier and save us time, we still feel dissatisfied and struggle to find time to fulfil our responsibilities for both this world and the hereafter. This is a symptom of our lives being devoid of baraka and is certainly something to ponder upon.

Inspiring figures

Many scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) that came before are revered for their contribution to Islam and for spreading knowledge. When we read the vast lists of their achievements, we may think that they lived long lives, but this is not always the case.

One of the most famous scholars in Islamic history, Imam Nawawi RH lived for just 44 years, yet in his short time on this Earth he authored the legendary Riyad al-Saliheen hadith collection and the Arba’in, a collection of 40 hadiths. Both these books are among the most famous hadith collections despite the fact that Imam Nawawi came after so many other renowned scholars. His legacy lives on to this day.

Similarly, Imam Ghazali RH, an accomplished scholar whose work is recognised in both Western academia and Muslim lands, lived only for 55 years. He has been given the title of hujja which means ‘irrefutable proof.’ That is someone who is a proof of Islam’s truth. He is one of the most respected scholars with regard to his contributions to philosophy, theology and spirituality, and authored a number of inspiring books.

Whenever someone reads and learns from these books, their writers are rewarded. Subhan’Allah, how much barakah must these men have been blessed with in their time that they were able to fulfil their duties and secure a high status for themselves in this world? Taking inspiration from them can help us in our efforts to be remembered for something positive and worthwhile too.

Another inspiring figure who lived a life full of barakah is the caliph ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Aziz (may Allah be pleased with him), who had an even shorter life of nearly 40 years. As the ruler, he was able to resolve the land issues of North Africa in just over two years, bringing such benefit to the people that there was nobody left to accept charity. One particularly distinct manifestation of baraka in his life can be seen when he became the ruler. Having spent the entire night in making the burial arrangements of his predecessor, he gave his inaugural lecture to the people and then by mid-morning, began to head home for a nap to remove his tiredness.

His young son stopped him and asked where he was going. He told him that he am going home for a nap and would return at Zuhr. He was berated by his son who asked how he could take a nap when there were many people waiting for him to distribute justice and deal with their outstanding matters that had remained unresolved from the time of his predecessors. “Can you guarantee your life until Zuhr?” the boy asked his father. At this, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz embraced his son and said “All thanks to Allah who has given me children that can help me in my matters.”

This man who was known as the reviver of the first century was so enriched with barakah that his children contributed to his Islamic welfare and progress.

Some steps towards gaining baraka

Having considered the need for baraka and its advantages, how can we gain more blessing in our lives? The scholars say that blessing is linked to certain actions and qualities.

  • Taqwa (fear of Allah): Allah says in the Qur’an, “Whoever fears Allah, He brings forth a way out for him; and provides him (with what he needs) from where he does not even imagine” (65:1-2). The Qur’an promises that a person or community with taqwa will never be in need, meaning that Allah will always provide for them.  Fear of Allah is very important, and is something that we must work to achieve, and to bring it into all aspects of our lives. May Allah grant us all the good fortune to bring taqwa into our lives.
  • Recitation of the Qur’an: Allah says of the Qur’an, “This is a blessed Book We have revealed to you” (38:29). Regularly reading and learning from the Glorious Book can provide us with more blessing in our time and hence ease in our tasks. One hadith states that whoever preoccupies himself with reading the Qur’an to the extent that he neglects asking Allah for things he needs, Allah will give him the best of what people ask from Allah. Clearly, taqwa is a pre-requisite for someone to place such absolute reliance on Allah and for people who attain this level. Indeed they will see the benefit of this.
  • Sincerity of intention: Do not do things just to gain wealth, but rather for a higher purpose. Setting goals and working in order to amass wealth for itself will not produce the same results as working for it while also trying to attain piety and richness of the heart. This would bring more happiness than any amount of money.
  • Repentance: Sins strip away barakah from our lives, while repentance restores the baraka. Hasan al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) had a person come to him complaining of a drought in his community and he was told to repent. Another came to see him complaining of poverty, and again he was told to repent. Another came to see him complaining of not having children, and again he was told to repent. He was asked why his advice remained the same whatever the issue he was confronted with. The Shaykh replied that this was not his own advice. It was the advice of the Qur’an and he cited the verses of Sura Nuh: “Pray to your Lord for your forgiveness. Indeed, He is All-forgiving; He will cause the heavens to rain upon you in abundance, and will help you with riches and sons, and will cause gardens to grow for you, and cause rivers to flow for you (71:10-12).

Now that we know how much our predecessors managed to achieve in their relatively short lives, and comparing it to the daily struggles we face to fulfil even our basic responsibilities, we can see the benefit that achieving baraka will bring to us. We should pray to Allah, perform some rak’as of salat frequently, and ask Allah to accept us for the service of His faith, and ask that He grant us all a way of earning perpetual reward and showers us with His blessings, Amin.

Transcribed by Maariyah Dawood

Edited by Ahmed Limbada

The Challenge after Ramadhan

By Shaykh Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

With the ending of the blessed month of Ramadān, we will be in the month of Shawwāl. Allāh ta‘ala has granted certain times and places special barakah (blessing); and every Muslim, when in these times or places, will feel this barakah manifesting itself. This in turn will lead to him finding fulfilling all the necessary actions and refraining from sins very easy. Ramadān, the day of Jumu‘ah (Friday), Makkah and Al-Madīnah are all examples of this.

Take the example of Ramadān in which we eagerly read twenty raka‘āt of Tarāwīh, whereas out of Ramadān we find even reading the sunan of ‘Ishā salāh and Witr thereafter a burden. Reading only two rak‘āt nafl with the intention of tahajjud seems a long way away and very difficult despite the great reward promised for this.

Similar is the effect when in blessed places. Whilst visiting the Haramayn, we are invigorated, resulting in us going for salāh in the Haram well before its time. Also, we find the elderly gain strength to do those acts of devotions which they would find difficult otherwise owing to their old age. I remember how once I was fortunate to accompany my mother for ‘umrah. Owing to her old age, I encouraged her by saying to her that she only needs to perform tawāf walking; after that, we will push her for the seven circuits of sa‘ī in a wheelchair. When we reached the place of sa‘ī, she refused the wheelchair and walked the entire way, staying up with the group. I am sure that back home she would not have been able to walk so much! This was due to the blessings of Ramadān and of being in the Haram.

So, in Ramadān, it was due to the great blessings that Allāh ta‘ala showered upon us that we were able to devote ourselves in His worship. Allāh ta‘ala facilitated this for us, as the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam says, “When Ramadān comes, the gates of Jannah are open, the doors of Jahannam are closed, and the Shayātīn are imprisoned.” (Al-Bukhārī) Also, angels are appointed by Allāh ta‘ala who call out, “O seeker of khayr (goodness)! Move forward. O seeker of evil! Stop.” (At-Tirmidhī, Ibn Mājah) All of this results in good deeds becoming easier for us.

However, with the passing of these blessed days and with an absence of blessed places, we should not expect this same energy and vigour to be there now; however, this does not mean that we should wait for eleven months before devoting ourselves once again to Allāh ta‘ala. Rather, Allāh ta‘ala grants us the blessings of Ramadān to encourage us towards His obedience so that we can continue with it during the year. This can be understood from the analogy of young children who are going to nursery for the first time. Their parents will encourage them with all sorts of incentives: sweets, chocolates, etc. Then once they get into a routine there is no need for such incentives. Similarly, Allāh ta‘ala encourages us during Ramadān to come into the routine of His obedience offering us mercy, barakah, forgiveness, etc. in abundance. We, alhamdulillāh, get into the habit of salāh, dhikr, recitation of the Qur’ān, abstinence from sins, etc. during the blessed month which then should continue throughout the year and the remainder of our lives.

This is the challenge after Ramadān that, with Shaytān and nafs on our backs, we continue in a similar pattern till the following Ramadān. The month of Ramadān is granted to us by Allāh ta‘ala to become God-conscious and remain throughout the year, and for the rest of our lives until we breathe our last.

“O you who believe! The fasts have been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you, so that you may become God-conscious.” (2:183)

Remember my dear brothers and sisters! We valued Ramadān knowing that it was very blessed, but so is every second of our lives; hence, they too need to be spent in fruitful actions. Ramadān was only blessed for us because we spent it in good ways. If we had not spent it correctly, then it would not have been blessed for us. Similar is the case with spending time in the Haramayn. If spent with negligence, there will be no blessings for us. Any moment of the year spent getting closer to Allāh ta‘ālā is blessed, no matter what month it may be and where it may be.

Therefore, with the passing of Ramadān we should not relax and become lax, for this effort needs to continue till our last breath. Shaytān has vowed to continue his efforts to mislead us till the last breath. The great Imām Ahmad ibn Hambal rahimahullāh was in the throes of death when he could be heard saying, “Not yet, not yet!” His son was alarmed that his father did not want to die; having spent his entire life giving the message that death is a gift for a believer, as it is the bridge that joins him to his beloved – Allāh ta‘ala. When his father regained consciousness and was asked why he was saying what he was, he said that Shaytān appeared before him telling him that he has escaped his clutches to which he replied, “Not yet, not yet!” (Siyaru-A‘lām-An-Nubalā)

This struggle against our unlawful desires and Shaytān needs to continue. We need to always stay alert and aware of the Commands of Allāh ta‘ala as well the deceits of Shaytān and our base desires. If we make an earnest effort, then Allāh ta‘ala will definitely assist us:

“As for those who strive in Our way, We will certainly guide them onto Our paths, and indeed Allāh is with those who are good in deeds.” (29:69)

Keeping this in mind and acting accordingly will inshā’allāh ensure that just as we strove to make our Ramadān memorable, our lives will become memorable too.

© Riyādul Jannah (2012)

Nikah

ring~ Nikah ~

When a man and a woman get married, both their Iman also get completed.

So may your bond be strong as husband and wife,

And may Allah ta’ala grant you a happy, blissful and beautiful life.

May Allah ta’ala fill your marriage with honesty and care,

And make sure you treat each other fair.

May your hearts be filled with everlasting love,

But make sure you always remember and obey the One above,

May you become a piece of each other’s heart,

So that you miss each other when you’re apart.

May you become a means of each others happiness,

And also help each other through sorrow and sadness.

May Allah ta’ala grant you blessings in this Nikah,

As He did to the marriages of the Holy Prophet to

Sayyidah Khadijah RA and Sayyidah A’ishah RA

May Allah ta’ala bless you with righteous and pious children,

Who’ll become a means for you all to get united in heaven.

But if in your marriage you face test after test,

Observe patience and show gratitude and you will become the best.

If either of you makes a mistake please learn to forgive and forget,

Because this is the teaching that the Holy Prophet has set.

If ever you have any arguments please remember it’s from Shaytan,

Who will always try to destroy one’s marriage and Imaan.

Always try to fulfil each other’s right,

And then In Sha Allah the future for you will be bright.

Finally, may Allah ta’ala grant you in this life tranquillity,

Happiness and abundant Barakah,

Subsequently in the life after

Grant you both the highest level in Jannah. Ameen.

Source: Al-Mumin Magazine

29th JamadulThani 1436