2017: Problems with the world

2018

  1. Criticism – Nobody can accept it, I guess the truth hurts. We are living in absolute arrogant times where you cannot say anything to anyone. Nobody wants to know whether they are right or wrong, whether they offended someone or said something harsh or abusive. People just don’t want to know. I do feel it is worse in the West, we are more arrogant and narcissistic. From an Islamic point of view, the Prophet Muhammad PBUH said, “Arrogance is to deny the truth and think low of people.” (Saheeh Muslim) So if you are wrong and cannot accept it, you clearly have ego issues! Anybody can be criticised, whether they are a scholar or not. An Islamic organisation, madrasah, school or charity. Just because we donate to them for the sake of Allah, doesn’t stop us from criticising them when they do actions contrary to Islam. Good intentions don’t always count when you lack knowledge.
  2. Parents – Some think they know everything, especially when it comes to their kids. They don’t! And loving your child does NOT mean you give them everything they want. How can a five-year-old know what is good for him/her? Just like kids don’t like injections, but we still give it to them? As we know what is good for them (and what is not). If you spoil your children, it won’t even be the age of sixteen (probably before that) you will start to regret it. “Beware. every one of you is a shepherd and every one is answerable with regard to his flock. The Caliph is a shepherd over the people and shall be questioned about his subjects (as to how he conducted their affairs). A man is a guardian over the members of his family and shal be questioned about them (as to how he looked after their physical and moral well-being). A woman is a guardian over the household of her husband and his children and shall be questioned about them (as to how she managed the household and brought up the children). A slave is a guardian over the property of his master and shall be questioned about it (as to how he safeguarded his trust). Beware, every one of you is a guardian and every one of you shall be questioned with regard to his trust.” (Saheeh Muslim)
  3. Passive people – There is no doubt we live in an apathetic society. We see crime, oppression and injustice but we just turn a blind eye. I am not talking about Palestine and Syria, I am talking about the dhulm in your own backyard. Men are to blame first and foremost, because men are no longer men. We have a lot of “males” in society, very few (real) men. Then I blame religious folk, who say “Pray Salah, read Qur’an and do Dhikr… everything will be okay?!” On the day of Badr the Prophet ﷺ didn’t just pray Qur’an and do Dhikr! Be active, “evil spreads not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the SILENCE of good people.” We need to speak up, people are not afraid to speak lies, why should we be afraid to speak the truth? Let’s not be selfish and don’t apply the rule: each to their own. That’s not an Islamic rule. “The best of jihad is a just word spoken to an unjust ruler.” (Ibn Majah)
  4. Da’wah – Not enough people that do it, or do it properly. Then you have the other half who don’t do it at all… this really needs a separate article altogether. Let’s start with “practice what you preach.” Many people don’t even read the hadith/messages they paste on to Whatsapp/Facebook. Secondly, we have people who say if you are not perfect or your family is not perfect you can’t give da’wah. These are definitely words from a Satanic mouth, a true deception of Shaytan. None of us are perfect, so none of us should do da’wah? Exactly what Shaytan wants? Even the uncles of the Prophet ﷺ did not accept Islam, they were Kafir and died as Kafirs. Does this mean the Prophet ﷺ should not have given da’wah to the rest of the world? Think before you speak, people. We now come on to the “fast forwarders” as I call them. They forward anything and everything under the name of Da’wah. When did the Prophet ﷺ say forward fabricated messages? When did the Prophet ﷺ say don’t verify things before forwarding? When did the Prophet ﷺ say if someone asks you for a reference, be defensive and arrogant because your ego cannot accept you are wrong? You get my drift, no further comments. “Do not tell a lie against me for whoever tells a lie against me (intentionally) then he will surely enter the Hell-fire.” (Bukhari)
  5. Fake people – Crocodiles tears, fake smiles, empty messages, people meet you with two faces, nothing from the heart. Why? The Ummah has become all about numbers. Number of followers on social media, we attend lots of talks but not a single change in our life. Madrasahs and schools have become all about numbers, as long as the seats gets full and fees are paid (and we are in surpluses), we are happy. And people perform excessive Hajj and Umrah, but no substance, no spirituality, not an iota of change. We really need a reality check. We have hundreds in the Masjid, we give thousands in Zakah, we are millions in Hajj, but our hearts are not clean. We really are fake and pseudo Muslims. “He who is two-faced in this world will have two tongues of fire on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu Dawud)
  6. Social Media – Some of you are on absoTOTALutely everything!!! Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter and WhatsApp and Telegram, like seriously? That is sad. Definitely for people with no life. I honestly just about manage with WhatsApp messages (I hardly even check people’s statuses). Committing yourself to all of these is like a full-time job, not even a part time job. Then you end up upsetting people and offending people, let alone all the debates and arguments you have. Press pause. Stop. Take a breath. And seriously quit the ones you don’t need, the ones that are eating you up and eating your time up. Maybe the last sentence should say, “stick with one.” In previous times, people kept diaries, if someone read your diary you would be upset and offended. Nowadays, we have social media, if someone doesn’t like your post or retweet your comment you get offended! Strange times! A lot of us do sit on our phones all day, even at work. But some people don’t. Don’t call me judgemental, with WhatsApp you can see everything. Those who are always on their phones and those who check social media first thing in the morning. Is it really that important to you? And don’t say “emergency”. Emergencies don’t occur every day. Time is valuable, it is priceless. Imam Ibn ul Qayyim (rahimahullah) stated: ”Time wasting is more serious than death because time wasting cuts you off from Allah and the home of the afterlife, whereas death cuts you off from the worldly life and its people.’’ [Source: Al-Fawaaid…page 59]
  7. Don’t judge me – Shaytan’s latest plot in spreading evil and preventing good. We have an obligation to enjoin good and forbid evil. If you SEE someone doing bad, stop them. How is that judgemental? Judgemental is when you don’t have evidence. You don’t need to be afraid if you are polite and pleasant in your words. The bigger problem is we don’t have enough people speaking up and stopping evil, so the few that do it, it becomes harder. We have too many ‘yes men’, who bow down to the needs of the people. As Muslims we only bow to the One on the throne (may He be exalted). Here’s one I made earlier.
  8. Impatient & Thinking the worst of people. We are living in super fast times. We don’t just eat a lot of fast food, we want everything fast and quick. We want fast replies to our texts and calls, if we call someone and they don’t answer (maybe because they are busy/in salah/driving/in the toilet) we get offended or automatically assume they are ignoring us. Most of us have zero patience. Be a bit more considerate, some people are busier than others. You think I am wrong? Next time your YouTube video is buffering for a few seconds, look how angry and frustrated you get?! It takes a few seconds to wait for it. Half of us would just switch the video off because we don’t have the patience to wait. Read more here. Driving and patience is another one, especially in the Asian community. Asian drivers have the least patience and some have no common sense, but you can’t teach them common sense. So I end here.

Ismail ibn Nazir Satia (one who is in dire need of Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and pleasure)

12 Rabiul Thani 1439

HOW TO START A NEW YEAR: https://mylittlebreathingspace.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/the-new-year/

 

 

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

Dhulm: Oppression or Depression?

In the Name of Allah the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

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All praise is due to Allah, the all-knowing, the all-seeing and we beseech Allah to send His noblest blessings on the Seal of the Prophets, Our Master and Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Alayhi Wasallam).

The first crime or sin we could say, committed on the surface of the earth was perpetrated by the son of the noble Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) whose name was Qabil RH. As it is known, the sin he committed was no ordinary sin; it was none other than murder and what degree of murder could be worse than murdering a family member, his own blood brother, Habil RH. So ever since that day, every person that gets killed unjustly, the burden of the sin not only falls on the killer, but also on Qabil RH as he initiated killings.

In this worldly life, we see many forms of oppression, and Almighty Allah allows this oppression. Many people, Muslim and Non-Muslim ask why? It is NOT because Allah is pleased to see his servants committing ‘dhulm’ , rather it is something termed as ‘al-Istidraaj’. Something you could loosely explain as Allah loosening the rope and giving respite to stop and repent. It is when Allah Almighty gives fortunes to someone despite Him not being pleased with him/her. Our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) explained in a Hadith (Prophetic Tradition), “When you see that Allah Almighty gives good fortunes to his slaves who are always committing sins (disobedient), know that the person is being given istidraj by Allah.” (At-Tabrani, Ahmad and Al-Baihaqi)

However, it is the duty of others to stop dhulm as is explained in the Prophetic Tradition (Hadith),“Help your brother; be he the oppressor or the oppressed.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, I shall help him if he is oppressed but how do I help him if he is the oppressor?” He said:”Prevent him from oppression, that is you helping him.” Bukhari and Muslim.

But what exactly is oppression? It is normally termed for what goes on in war and when one takes another’s right. The literal meaning of al-Dhulm is, ‘to place something somewhere it does not belong’. For example, if one were to place his shoe on his head that would be classed as al-Dhulm as that is not the correct place for the shoe. But dhulm (oppression) in Islam has a much broader and deeper meaning. We only need to pick up a newspaper or turn on the television to see the oppression that goes on around the world, the young children suffering, the babies dying, women as well as the elderly tortured and their menfolk beaten and humiliated in front of them – the world accepts this as wrong, no matter which creed or race you are from and no matter which religion you follow.

But what I would like to shed light on is the dhulm you and I may commit; even though we would never like to be associated with dhulm or be called a ‘dhalim’ (oppressor), but sometimes we do commit oppression knowingly,or unknowingly.  Because oppression is not just what we see in Gaza or Syria, oppression is also what goes on here, in the UK; a man who beats his wife is oppression, not treating your children fairly and equally is oppression, to show ingratitude and display disobedience to your parents is oppression, to deprive a sibling of their rights to inheritance is oppression, bullying and harassing someone weaker than you in school or college or at a workplace is oppression, taking one’s anger out on an innocent individual is oppression, showing favouritism at a work place to certain employees due to unjustified reasons such as family connections, being from the same race or same sex (sometimes the opposite sex simply because they are attractive) is oppression, being ungrateful to your spouse or not spending time with him/her is oppression, not letting a father see his child without a valid reason is oppression and relaying lies or slandering someone out of jealousy and spite is oppression! The list really can go on, unfortunately.

The very sad reality is oppression is everywhere and for many of us, our hearts bleed because others cause us to bleed. Usually it is those closest to us; a family member or a relative. Hence the title of this article has been named, ‘Dhulm: Oppression or depression?’ despite the fact dhulm is normally translated as oppression it can consequently ‘lead’ to depression. And this is what we see when we look around the world; people are either suffering from oppression or depression, they are either bleeding or weeping! My little message to every brother to every sister out there who is suffering, be it equal to a prick of a thorn or the weight of a mountain, “DO NOT DESPAIR IN THE MERCY OF ALLAH!” (39:53). “Indeed, Allah is with the patient ones” (2:249). We are promised time and again in Qur’an and Hadith that Allah will give us justice for the oppression we face in this world and the injustices we have  to endure. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Give people their rights. Even the hornless sheep will take retaliation from the horned sheep (on Qiyamah)” (Adabul Mufrad).

Nothing is hidden from Allah, not even the black ant crawling on a stone in the darkness of the night nor its footprint! Let oppressors think not that Allah is unaware! Allah Almighty says, “And never think that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only delays them for a Day when eyes will stare [in horror]” (14:42). In another verse, “And those who have wronged are going to know to what [kind of] return they will be paid back” (26:227). And to serve as a final reminder and warning, Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Fear injustice. Injustice will appear as darkness on the Day of Rising. Fear avarice. Avarice destroyed people before you and led them to shed one another’s blood and to make lawful what was unlawful for them” (Adabul Mufrad).

To conclude In Sha Allah, we pray Allah protects us from committing dhulm and from being the victims of dhulm, as well as giving us the ability to help the oppressed and stop an oppressor, as the saying goes, ‘Evil spreads not because of the violence of bad people, rather because of the silence of good people’ .

Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (In dire need of Allah’s mercy, forgiveness and pleasure).

27th Shawwal 1435