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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Having Good Thoughts(Husn al-Zann) of Allah in Testing times

Having Good Thoughts (Ḥusn al-Ẓann) of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) in Times of Trial & Affliction

Be smiling always

Jābir b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Ansāri relates that he heard Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) say three days before his death:

None of you should die except whilst assuming the best about Allāh.[1]

As Muslims, we should always assume the best about our Lord. As long as we are striving to engage in good deeds, we should expect the best outcome. We should expect that Allāh will accept our good deeds; and from His grace, He will forgive us and bless us to live this life, until its conclusion, upon faith.

This ḥusn al-ẓann (having optimistic, positive thoughts about Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā)) may become difficult at times of trials and afflictions. Many times trials come in succession – one after another or many come at the same time, simultaneously. During these times the heart feels broken, shattered and constricted. It feels as if the ‘walls’ of this world are closing in; ready to choke you to death. At these times one may feel worry and anxiety, which may affect their sleep and daily life. It is precisely at these times when we feel that everything is caving in and the world is about to swallow us that we must have good, sound and positive thoughts of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) because we know that His tests are measured and precise according to our strength and capabilities. He knows us better than we know ourselves!

Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) knows exactly what is in our hearts and He is all aware of our innermost thoughts and feelings when we are facing these tests. He (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) has already spoken about this in the Qur’ān when He (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says:

We shall test you through fear, hunger, loss of life, property, and crops. (Muhammad), give glad news to the people who have patience [Quran 2:155]

In this āyah Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is not promising us wealth, health and prosperity all the time, but He (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is saying that He will surely test us with many things such as fear, hunger, loss of life, and property, but He is also giving glad tidings of relief from such trials and afflictions if we are patient.

Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) also says:

Do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as it came to those who passed on before you? [2:214]

Throughout the history of mankind, the righteous, the pious and the wicked were always tested according to their capacity and Allāh’s infinite wisdom of that capacity and capability. Our ancestors faced trials and tribulations that were extremely difficult and continuous as Allāh has informed us:

They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said, “When will the help of Allāh [come]? [Quran 2:214]

However, they remained firm, strong and true to their faith. Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) answered them directly with a clear statement, in the verse immediately following, which should bring ease to all of our hearts:

Unquestionably, the help of Allāh is near [Quran 2:214]

Therefore, have patience in Allāh’s Decree! Tie up your heart and restrict your mind from having any evil thoughts about Allāh and His Divine Wisdom. Then take a deep breath and let your heart relax and be content with Allāh’s Divine Decree. Know that with every hardship, ease is simply around the corner.

Verily, with hardship there is relief [94:6]

Allāh informs us that with every difficulty there is ease, and then He reaffirms this by repeating this same ayah in Sūrah al-Sharḥ. This particular āyah is immensely important and even a very simple understanding of Arabic grammar will open the huge treasure chest that is the deep meaning of these two āyāt and thereby bring peace, comfort and ease to the one afflicted with difficulty.

In this sūrah Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says:

Verily, with hardship there is relief [Quran 94:5]

And then He repeats the same statement in the following verse:

Verily, with hardship there is relief [Quran 94:6]

Here Allāh uses the word maʿa (with), which is a different to when Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) states:

“Allāh will grant after hardship, ease [Quran 65:6]

where He uses the word baʿda (after).

The letters alif and lām are also attached to the noun ʿusra (difficulty), which means that this difficulty is a difficulty that is single in number and is a known and specified difficulty. However, the noun yusra (ease) has no alif and lām attached, which means that it is unspecified and therefore could be many. The scholars of tafsīr have stated this means that when Allāh afflicts His servant with a difficulty, simultaneously, at the same time, He will give him many types of ease – two at the very least! Therefore, one difficulty will never overcome two matters of ease. In other words it is as if Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is saying: “indeed, surely, definitely with (not after) every difficulty, there will be many matters of ease” and He (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) repeats it for emphasis.

Therefore, trials and afflictions should never shake us and weaken our faith, rather they should be used as an opportunity to get closer to Allāh through repentance, duʿā, dhikr, ṣalāh, recitation of the Qur’ān and other types of worship because if a trial does not bring us closer to Allāh, then it is unlikely that a blessing ever will. Allāh sometimes puts us into ‘deep waters’ not to drown us but to cleanse us of our sins and cleanse our hearts.

Engaging in different acts of worship helps alleviate what seems to be a difficult situation during trials and tribulations. The Prophets and the righteous always understood the huge status of ṣalāh among other acts of worship and so they would hasten to it during times of trials and afflictions. It is authentically reported that Ṣuhaib (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said:

“When the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) used to pray he would whisper something we could not hear…and they (i.e. the Prophets) would flee to prayer when they were alarmed or dismayed by something.”[2]

Part of being patient is to know that our reaction to the calamity will determine what happens to us, for whoever accepts Allāh’s Qadr, Allāh will be pleased with him and whoever is angry at it, Allāh will be angry with him.[3]

Since Allāh only afflicts His servants due to his Infinite Wisdom, Love and Mercy for them and even when doing so, sends many matters of ease with it, the servant should busy himself with good and positive thoughts because the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) informed us said that,

“Allāh the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’”[4]

When explaining this ḥadīth, Ibn Hajar (raḥimahu Allāhu) said “it means, I am able to do whatever he (my servant) expects I will do.”[5] – whatever “my servant expects of me”.

Imām al-Nawawi (raḥimahu Allāhu) said: “The scholars say that expecting the best of Allāh is to expect that He will have Mercy on him and relieve him of hardship.”[6]

Imām al-Nawawi (raḥimahu Allāhu) further added: “… this means He will forgive him if he seeks forgiveness, will accept his repentance if he repents, will answer him if he supplicates, and will suffice him if he asks for something. It is also said that it refers to having hope and longing for relief, and this is more correct.” [7]

This Ḥadīth Qudsi forces us to think about the words of our Lord very carefully. The first thing Allāh is calling us towards is to have a positive outlook about Him under all circumstances, since it is that very thought, belief and expectation that will determine how Allāh relates to us, His servants. When the servant assumes the best about his Lord and pins his hopes on his Lord’s love, forgiveness and mercy, His Lord will not disappoint him. When we plead to Allāh and call unto Him, we should be convinced that our prayer will be answered. When we sincerely repent for our sins, we should trust that Allāh will forgive us. When we perform a virtuous deed, we should assume that Allāh will accept it and reward us for it. All of this is part of assuming the best about Allāh.

This is why the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

“When you beseech Allāh in supplication, be convinced that He will answer you.”[8]

Assuming the best about Allāh is an integral aspect of our belief in Allāh, since it is based upon our belief in His mercy, His power, His generosity, and His might. It is also a fundamental aspect of our tawakkul (trust, reliance) upon Allāh, which is essential to our belief in Him.

Assuming the best about Allāh can only come as a result of righteous conduct and good deeds. The righteous person always assumes the best about his Lord, whilst the sinner who persists in wrongdoing, injustice, and disobedience is prevented by his evil deeds from assuming the best about his Lord. Good assumptions are intricately linked to righteous actions, whilst disobedience causes ill thoughts about Allāh and a disturbed state of mind. A sinner always feels estranged from his Lord to the extent of his sinfulness. However, the person who has the best outlook on his Lord is undoubtedly the one who is the most obedient to his Lord.

We must never let trials, tribulations and afflictions affect our good assumptions of Allāh because it is precisely those thoughts that will allow us to persevere, continue in our worship and call unto Him to remove these afflictions. Having positive thoughts about Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) and assuming the best about Him really means pinning our hopes and expectations on Allāh. We know that Allāh can be severe in punishment as well as being Most Merciful, so we strive to do good and hope for His mercy and be confident that if we sincerely repent for our sins and strive to do good, we will attain Allāh’s Mercy. We must never despair. We must never see our sins as being too great for Allāh’s forgiveness because Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says:

Never despair of Allāh’s mercy. No one despairs of Allāh’s mercy except the unbelieving people. [Quran 12:87]

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Saḥīḥ Muslim (5125)  [2] Reported by Aḥmad in al-Musnad (4/333) [3] Provisions of the Hereafter (Mukhtaser Zaʿd al Maʿad, p. 438). [4] Saḥīḥ al-Bukhāri (6856) and Saḥīḥ Muslim (4832) [5] Fatḥ al-Bārī [6] Sharh Saḥīḥ Muslim [7] Sharh Saḥīḥ Muslim [8] Sunan al-Tirmidhî (3401)

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What comes after the ten blessed days of Dhul Hijjah?

What comes after the ten blessed days of Dhul Hijjah?

Did you do your best the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, benefiting from the time good deeds are most beloved to Allah ‘azza wa jall? Guess what? A sign of Allah accepting your good deeds is that He enables you to continue doing them. All year round.

Even though a set of truly blessed days have come to an end, it’s time to realize that each day is a blessing and should be seized. Let’s find out about some virtuous deeds you should continue doing until the very end!

Allah ‘azza wa jall says: And spend [in the way of Allah] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, “My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous [Quran, 63:10]

6 ways to gain rewards all year around

1. Thank Allah for each new day
Did you even thank Allah for making you witness the ten blessed days of Dhul Hijjah?
How can you thank Allah? By doing those things  through which you can attain maximum benefit and reward. And to do those deeds the most beautiful, beloved, respectful and humble way. This is what ‘ibaadah (worship) is. So make it a habit from now, to thank Allah for each new day you witness.
Action:
Say this dua when you wake up:
الحَمْدُ لِلهِ الَّذِي أَحْيَانَا بَعْدَ مَا أَمَاتَنَا وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ Alhamdu lillaahil-ladhee ahyaanaa ba’da maa amaatanaa wa ilayhin-nushoor – All praise be to Allah Who has given us life after He caused us to die; and unto Him is the resurrection [Al-Bukhaari] And feel the ‘alhamdulilliah’ in it:  you are deeply grateful for the new day. Besides whoever is grateful to Allah, He will give you more, so in shaa Allah it means lots of barakah in your day!

2. Repent each day or night.

The amazing reward of fasting on the day of Arafah: it expiates the (minor) sins of the previous year and of the coming year [Muslim] But don’t settle for less! You will have your minor sins forgiven with your fast on the day of Arafah in shaa Allah, but what about your major sins? All your major sins can be forgiven by you doing something beautiful: repenting. From your heart.
Action:
Ask Allah to help you say and mean this beautiful supplication each day you live:
أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ وَأَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ  Astaghfirullaa-hal-ladhee laa ilaaha illaa huwal-ayyul-qayyoomu wa atoobu ilayh – I seek Allah’s forgiveness, besides Whom, none has the right to be worshipped except He, The Ever Living, The Self-Subsisting and Supporter of all, and I turn to Him in repentance.
The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: Whoever says [above]…Allah would forgive him even if he was one who fled during the advance of an army [Abu Dawood, At-Tirmidhee]

3. Sacrifice something each day.
Did you realize that Eid-ul-Adhaa is the Eid of sacrifice? Ibraheem ‘alayhi sallam was ready to give up everything for the sake of Allah. Even slaughtering his own son, Isma’eel ‘alayhi sallam. The whole point of sacrificing an animal is for you to follow a sunnah and increase in righteousness. So it’s not just a simple click of a button on your phone and computer and your ‘qurbani’ or ‘udhiya’ is done. But Allah says: Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you [Quran, 22:37] How can you keep this spirit of sacrifice all year?
Action:
Consciously sacrifice something for the sake of Allah each day. Whether it is ten minutes to make a phone call to your parents, sharing a meal with your neighbour, opening a book to understand the Quran, instead of just following your desires and watch television etc.

4. Keep saying the takbeer.

You filled your days with saying the ‘Dhul Hijjah’ and ‘Eid’ takbeer, don’t stop there! Allah says: وَكَبِّرْهُ تَكْبِيرًا…and glorify Him with a great glorification [Quran, 17:111]Kabirhu means to declare His greatness and magnify Him and how? Takbeera; by saying Allahu akbar, the greatest way of magnifying Allah.

Action: Say the dhikr from this hadith at the beginning of your prayer:
Abdullah ibn ‘Umar narrates that a man came late to Salāh. Upon arriving to the line he started his prayer with the following words, Allaahu Akbaru Kabeeran wal-hamdulillahi katheeran wa subhaan Allaahi bukratan wa aseelaa. The Prophet, after completing the prayer, asked the people who had said this. The man said, O Rasūlullah, I did not intend by it other than good. The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, I saw the gates of heaven open because of those words. Ibn ‘Umar added, I never ceased saying these words since hearing the Prophet say that. [Muslim, At-Tirmidhee, An-Nasaa’i and Ahmad] And whenever you say takbeer, feel it and truly realize that Allah is greater than anything else you love, own, or desire.

5. Revive sunnah prayers.
There is a treasure chest of voluntary prayers with specific rewards you can pick and choose from all year round. At least every day pay special attention to revive a sunnah prayer.
Action:
Pray four rakaat before and after dohr: Whoever sticks to the habit of offering four rak`ahs before Noon Prayer & four rak`ahs after it, Allah will shield him against the Hell-Fire [An-Nasaa’i] Pray tahiyyatil wudhoo, which are two rakaat after performing wudhoo: Bilal radiyallahu ‘anhu was asked by the Prophet: Tell me about the best of your deeds (i.e. one which you deem the most rewarding) since your embracing Islam because I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise.” Bilal replied: “I do not consider any act of mine more rewarding than that whenever I make ablution at any time of night or day, I perform prayer for as much as was destined for me to do [Al-Bukhaari, Muslim]

6. Earn the reward of a Hajj without going to Makkah.

You can earn reward like that of a hajj and umrah 365 days a year.
Action:
The Prophet said: Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits remembering Allah until the sun has risen, then he prays two Rak’ah, then for him is the reward like that of a Hajj and Umrah.” He said: ‘Complete, complete, complete [At-Tirmidhee] You can do this with friends and your children; pick a day, meet in the masjid and revive this sunnah!

May Allah ‘azza wa jall enable us to do above deeds and accept them from us, ameen.

Praying you will benefit,

Khawlah bint Yahya – United Kingdom

 

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Hajj: Tips and Reflections

Hajj: Tips and Reflections

9/16/2014 -By: Jarir N Dirini (www.islamicity.com)

This is the most important and dramatic event in a Muslim’s life. Accordingly, you must prepare yourself for this holy journey. I would like to share with you few tips that might help ease some of the difficulties that you might encounter. Beforehand, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for consistently introducing new procedures, and implementing new plans to accommodate more visitors every year. My intention is simply to point out few ideas and not religious advice that you might want to consider, based upon my own experience and that of the group I was travelling with, during the year of 2001.

How to prepare for your Trip to perform Hajj / Umrah

Start preparing yourself after the month of Ramadan.

  1. Read the story of the life of the Prophet Mohammed, Ibrahim and his son Ismael(peace be upon them all). Try to put yourself through that experience.
  2. Get up at least once a week during the last hour of the night to pray asking God to facilitate your intention to perform the Hajj/Umrah.
  3. Memorize the procedures necessary to perform Hajj/Umrah and try to watch a video that demonstrates those events.
  4. Exercise; walk, run, bike, swim etc. Coming out of the month of Ramadan and into Hajj, you need to quickly get your body in shape. No matter how young you are your perseverance will be tested.
  5. Memorize few Du’a. In other words, capitalize on the spiritual transformation you went through in Ramadan and sustain your momentum by preparing yourself physically and spiritually for Hajj.

Items you need during your stay in Mecca

  1. Men should use a cream against rash. Use daily during the Ihram period.
  2. Soap; Fragrance free and deodorant. Use the fragrance free during Ihram.
  3. White umbrella
  4. Underarm deodorant, fragrance free during Ihram
  5. Toothbrush
  6. Toothpaste
  7. Nail scissors
  8. Brush/comb
  9. Towel
  10. Plastic slippers for the rest rooms
  11. Alarm clock
  12. Koran and Dua pocket books
  13. A phone calling card (for U.S.A. travelers)
  14. A facemask to cover mouth and nose especially during Tawaf and SaÕyyi. The mask is good for no more than 30 minutes.
  15. A cassette player! You will spend a long time in transit especially when en route to and from Mina and Mt Arafat. As you might get tired especially after a long day in Mt Arafat, and with the slow moving traffic, this could become useful to ease some of the tension by listening to Koran recitations, lectures and so on.
  16. Medications :
    • Upset stomach medication
    • Anti diarrhea medication
    • Fever reducer and painkillers.
    • Cough suppressant
    • Nasal decongestion
    • A 5-10-day course for bacterial infections.
  17. Toilet tissue paper. Rest rooms are only equipped with water hoses.
  18. Money belt. During Ihram period, men travelling with a female are advised to have their partner carry the cash in their belt wrapped inside their clothes. Otherwise, men should wrap the belt around their waist. Refrain from carrying a lot of cash at one time.
  19. Men are encouraged to wear Sandals during Ihram. Slippers might restrict your movement in a congested area.
  20. Laundry detergent to wash clothes
  21. Perfume
  22. Insulated water bottle. Fill it with Zamzam water before going to Mena and Mt Arafat.
  23. During the days of Al Tashreeq, when stoning the three Jamarat, I recommend the following:
    •  Wear rugged clothing,
    •  Avoid wearing slippers
    •  Do not carry an umbrella
    •  Leave your wallet behind
    •  Count the Jamarat and have them ready, preferably in a pocket size bag, before getting there.
  24. Avoid taking lots of clothing with you. Nevertheless, take enough underwear to minimize the time spent on washing.
  25. During your time there, drink lots of water and eat a healthy meal. Increase your intake of carbohydrates since youÕre on the move a lot.

Your time in Mecca

  1. Carry your sandals/shoes with you in a plastic bag when in Al Masjid Al-Haram. Do not leave on the shoe rack for you might forget where you have left them. Bring a prayer rug with you.
  2. Try not to drink too much water before you start your Tawaf or Sa’yyi. You can make up for that at the end. Rest rooms are extremely congested.
  3. Remember the gate number when you enter the Mosque. Look around you for landmarks that can guide you back. The King of Fahd gate is the most recent addition at this time and that section is air-conditioned.
  4. Try to perform ‘Umrah late in the evening 2 hours before Al-Fajr prayer. Least congested.
  5. Don’t exit right after the jama’h prayer at the Al Haram mosque. Wait at least 15 minutes to avoid the crowds.
  6. Most tours when departing Mt Arafat, travel directly to Mena to throw Al-Jamrah Alkubrah, others stop briefly at Al-Musdalifah then continue to Mena while others spend the night or part of it at Al-Musdalifah and then continue to Mena. If at all possible, after leaving Mt Arafat, spend the night at Al Muzdalifah, pray Fajr, then go directly to the Kaaba and
    1. perform Tawaf Al Ifadah
    2. shave/cut your hair
    3. pay for the slaughter, if applicable
    4. change your Ihram clothes and wait for the evening to throw Al Jamrah Al Kubrah. This is a good way to avoid the crowd.
  7. Consider the second or third level of AL-Haram Mosque when performing Tawaf Al Ifadah and Al Wada’. During Tawaf at the main level, try to move to your right as you approach the black line that runs across from the black stone to a nearby green light hanging on the wall. Also, carry with you a pocket Koran and a Du’a pocket book during Tawaf and Sa’yyi.
  8. Consider the second level when performing Sa’yyi especially if you have a shortness of breadth.
  9. Men who choose to shave all their hair with a razor are encouraged to go to a professional salon to avoid unnecessary cuts to the head. A new packaged sealed razor should be used. A haircut using scissors can be performed on a street corner.
  10. During the days of Al Tashreeq, try to stone Al Jamarat during the evening. Once there, it is best to take the second level. When approaching Aljamarat avoid walking straight across towards them. Instead, bear to the right or left, approach at an angle, as it’s less crowded. It is very dangerous to bend over and collect jamarat from that area. When performing Du’a between the Jamarat stations try to move to the far side to avoid the heavy traffic.
  11. Arrive at least one hour before the Friday noon prayer at Al Masjid Al Haram. Otherwise, you can pray at other local mosques and with God’s willing earn the same reward. The Friday prayer period preceding the day of Arafat is one of the most congested times at Al Masjid Al Haram.

– See more at: http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IN0111-372#sthash.e9t6YwKK.dpuf

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15 ways to bring Hajj to you NOW!

15 ways to bring Hajj to you NOW!

When I watched the intro video of the ‘Hajj: from Ritual to Spiritual’ course it reminded me of my Hajj.  I never saw a course like this, focused on understanding Hajj. I only watched some ‘prep videos’ online, you know, the ones telling you what to pack and what to say when you’re there.

It was 2008. I had just become Muslim and soon after Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala chose me to perform the Journey of Journeys, what a blessing!

However, until the day of today I keep wondering..
Did I fully grasp the meaning of this great pillar of Islam? Did I do everything the way I was supposed to?  Is my Hajj accepted?
We often tell ourselves; ‘ If I knew then, what I know now I would have done things so differently!’

In the Qur’an we find everlasting lessons. There’s no time to the wisdom of the Qur’an. The Qur’an is not something we should struggle to fit into our lives; rather, it is the answer to how to get the most out of our lives. It is a guide to productivity.

Now, there’s something interesting going on with the ritual of Hajj..
There’s a whole Surah dedicated to Hajj in the Qur’an (Chapter Hajj, 22). Do you think this Surah is just teaching you how to perform Hajj? And did you think, it’s about Hajj and I already went, or I can’t go anytime soon, so what’s the point for me now?
Don’t you know of the amazing daily life lessons hidden in this beautiful Surah? It’s time to UNDERSTAND the Qur’an!

Believing in Allah, your salah, your zakat, fasting in Ramadhan…these things always return in your life. If it’s not daily, then it’s at least yearly.  But the ones who went on Hajj often think it’s end of the story; ‘I probably won’t go again..’ or ‘ I know I cannot go now anyway..’ so the Meaning of the Hajj disappears from their lives.
By acting upon the words of the Qur’an there will be benefit in every moment of yours. Plus the Qur’an is easy and effective for advising others too.
So, it’s time to bring the lessons from Hajj to YOUR life, right here and right now,  whether you already went, never went or are about to go!

15 Spiritual Lessons from Hajj
from the preparation, the travel, the rituals there until the return home!

1)       The Travel vs the Journey to the Hereafter.

When you travel to carry out the rituals of Hajj, you are reminded of your journey to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and the Hereafter. When you travel, you leave behind your family and homeland, and the journey to the Hereafter is like that. Travelling is a kind of torment, just like the journey to the Hereafter, only much more so. Ahead of you are your dying, death, the grave, the gathering, the accounting, the scales and al-Siraat, followed by either Paradise or Hell..

2)       Packing bags vs The Provision of Taqwa
You equip yourself with enough provision to reach the sacred land. But do you remember the importance to pack your days of life with taqwaa? Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says (interpretation of the meaning): “And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwaa (piety, righteousness, etc.).” [al-Baqarah 2:197]

3)       Ihraam vs Shroud
When you put on the two garments of your ihraam, you cannot help but be reminded of the shroud in which you will be wrapped [after you die]. Daily remembering death helps you to fight disobedience and sins. Just like you have given up your regular clothing [for Hajj] and put on two clean, white garments, you have to make your heart clean and white [pure], by polishing it daily by dhikr and seeking forgiveness.

4)       ‘Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk’ vs Watching your tongue
As when we say Labbaik, we intend to speak only of obedience to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and avoid talk of disobedience. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala watches us and our speech all the time, so we daily have to watch our tongue and avoid the two biggest problems we have with this muscle: gossiping and excessive talking!

5)       Haraam vs Halaal
When you are in your ihraam you give up things which are normally halaal for you but which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has forbidden to you at this time [during his ihraam], so how can you violate the prohibitions of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala by doing things which are haraam at all times and in all places?

6)       The Sacred House of Allah vs The Day of Resurrection
When you enter the Sacred House of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, which He has made a sanctuary for mankind, you remember the sanctuary of the Day of Resurrection, which no one can reach without striving hard. The greatest thing which will keep a person safe on the Day of Resurrection is Tawheed and avoiding Shirk (associating others with Allah).

7)       The Sunnah vs Reasoning
Kissing the Black Stone, which is the first ritual to be undertaken, and the following tawaaf teaches you to honour the Sunnah and not to oppose the laws of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala with your feeble reasoning. This is a daily life lesson; you recognize that there is wisdom and goodness behind the laws and rituals prescribed for mankind, and you train yourself to submit yourself totally to your Lord, may He be exalted.

8)       Zamzam vs Water
When you drink the water of Zamzam you are reminded of the blessing which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has bestowed upon mankind in the form of this blessed water, which has never dried up.  Water plays a central role in our daily life. In fact you are made from water! And what about the daily amount of water which you so easily drink at home? Recognize and thank Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala daily for the blessing of water in general.

9)       Sa’ee vs Daily life trials
Sa’ee means effort. When you do al-Saa’ee, running between al-Safaa’ and al-Marwah, you are reminded of the trial of Haajar, a mother who was patient in the face of adversity. She didn’t just sit down but trusted her Lord AND got into action!

10)   The Holy House vs The Lord of The House
When you leave the Ka’bah in the direction of ‘Arafah to begin your Hajj, you are moving away from The House to meet The Lord of The House. ‘Arafah is outside the boundary of The Holy Land (Haram), signifying that The Lord of The House is everywhere, and is closer to man than he is to his own jugular vein. [Qaf, 50:16] The standing (wuqoof) in ‘Arafah reminds you of the throngs of people on the Day of Gathering. If you feel tired from being in a crowd of thousands, how will it be in the crowds of barefoot, naked, uncircumcised people, standing for fifty thousand years?

11)   Pebbles vs Shaytan’s Daily attacks
When you throw the pebbles at the Jamaraat, you realize that Ibraaheem knew that the one who was preventing him from obeying the Orders of Allah The Almighty was the devil as he was embodied for him three times to prevent him from slaughtering his son.  Ibraaheem threw seven pebbles at him three times and told him, “You will be thrown by me.” So, the devil was disappointed and turned on his heels. We are dealing with devils from mankind and jinn daily who want to prevent us from getting closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. KNOW your enemy and be motivated by Ibraheem to fight the attacks with yaqeen (certainty)!

12)   Limited Hajj time vs All other days
Hajj teaches us to get used to utilizing time. Time is our capital, you either waste it or invest it. During Hajj, you do great deeds in a period of time that might not exceed four days in different places that are far from each other and crowded. This shows that humans have great potential and latent energy. This is a great lesson for you that teaches you to get used to utilizing time and not wasting it in your daily life!

13)    Sacrifice vs Emotions
When you slaughter your sacrifice (hady), you are reminded of the great event when our father Ibraaheem submitted to the command of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to sacrifice his only son Ismaa’eel, after he had grown up and become a help to him. You remind yourself that there is no room for emotions which go against the commands and prohibitions of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. And very important; we have to work hard every day to instil sabr in our children like Ismaa’eel, who said (interpretation of the meaning): “ ‘O my father! Do that which you are commanded. In shaa Allaah (if Allaah wills), you will find me of al-saabireen (the patient ones).’” [al-Saaffaat 37:102]

14)   Hardship vs Ease
When you come out of your ihraam and things that had been forbidden become permissible again, teaches you a lesson of life:  the consequences of patience and that after hardship comes ease. The one who responds to the call of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will taste the sweetness of obedience, which cannot be tasted through anything else. Like the joy you feel when you break your fast or when you pray qiyaam at night, after you have finished praying.

15)   Return home vs Reunited in the Eternal Home
When you come back to your spouse and children, and experience the joy of meeting them again, this reminds you of the greater joy of meeting them in Paradise. This also teaches you that the greatest loss is losing oneself and one’s family on the Day of Resurrection, as Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says (interpretation of the meaning): “The losers are those who will lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection. Verily, that will be a manifest loss!” [al-Zumar 39:15].


To conclude; every day, a new page!

When you have finished all the rituals of Hajj as they were prescribed by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and in the manner that He loves, you hope that your Lord will forgive you all your sins, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) promised in the hadeeth, “Whoever does Hajj for the sake of Allah and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), commit sin, or dispute unjustly during the hajj, will come back like the day his mother gave birth to him. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1449; Muslim, 1350).

This invites you to start a new page in his life, free of sin. However, every night and every morning Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gives YOU a new chance, whether you went on Hajj or not, you just have to grab it!  Allah, the Exalted, stretches His Hand during the night so that those who commit sins by day may repent, and He stretches His Hand in the day so that those who commit sins by night may repent. He keeps doing so until the sun rises from the West”.[Muslim] Allahu akbar!

Khawlah bint Yahya

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Six parts of the Talbiyah: taste its sweetness!

 Six parts of the Talbiyah: taste its sweetness!

by Dr. Abdulazeez Abdulraheem – Understand Quran Academy

Once you enter the state of Ihram for Hajj or Umrah, you start reciting the Talbiyah. Because you will recite it perhaps hundreds of times, it is extremely important and useful to know the beautiful dimensions of the Talbiyah. This way, every time you say it you will taste a different sweetness of talking to Allah [swt]. You will repeat it with love, passion and eagerness.

Each statement of the Talbiyah has layers upon layers of meanings. By remembering these meanings while saying the Talbiyah, your connection with Allah [swt] will be strengthened and your Hajj or Umrah will become a truly memorable one.

What is the Talbiyah?

Jabir ibn `Abdullah said, describing the Hajj of the Prophet (pbuh): “Then he (pbuh) started to say the words of Tawhid, Labbayka Allahumma labbayk, labbayka la sharika laka labbayk. Inna al-hamd wal-ni`mata laka wal-mulk, la sharika lak. [Muslim].

The way most people say it is in six parts, like below, with brief pauses in between:
1. Labbayka Allahumma labbayk, (Here I am, O Allah, here I am)
2. labbayka la shareeka laka labbayk. (Here I am, You have no partner, here I am)
3. Innal-hamd (Verily all praise and thanks …)
4. wan-ni`mata (… and all blessings…)
5. laka wal-mulk (… and all sovereignty are Yours)
6. la shareeka lak. (You have no partner.)

The Virtues of the Talbiyah

This beautiful hadeeth lays out the virtues of saying the Talbiyah: The Messenger (pbuh) said: “There is no Muslim who recites the Talbiyah but whatever is to his right and to his left of stones, rocks and clods (lumps of earth or clay) recites it with him, to the furthest point to the east and the west – meaning from his right and his left.” [At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Khuzaymah, and al-Bayhaqi].

Therefore, while you recite, use your imagination and feel the echo in the valleys, mountains, and plains of everything around you repeating it. Feel the partnership of all of the creation around you joining you as recite the Talbiyah, Allahu Akbar!

Six parts of the Talbiyah

Let us look at each of these parts one by one, as explained by different scholars.

1. Labbayka Allahumma labbayk
Here I am, O Allah! Here I am

“Here I am” is repeated to show that the response is lasting and ongoing. This is the response to the call of Allah [swt], given by Ibrahim (as), as mentioned in Al-Quran: “And proclaim the pilgrimage among men: they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways.” [Al-Hajj 22:27]

Labbayk.. Labbayk; this repetition also means, I submit and submit again. I will always be in submission to You O Allah!
‘Labba bil-makan’ in Arabic means staying in one place, clinging to it. Therefore Labbayk means “I am persisting in obeying You, O Allah! I will stick to Your obedience and submission.”

“Labbayk (Here I am at Your service)” is said to a person whom one loves and respects. Therefore, your statement along with repetitions expresses Your love for Allah [swt]. Other meanings of this word are also reported by scholars.

2. Labbayka la shareeka laka labbayk
Here I am, You have no partner, here I am

This part emphasizes your eagerness to be free from Shirk (associating partners with Allah [swt]). Shirk is such a dangerous crime that Allah [swt] will never forgive it.

The feelings that one can have as we say it are:
-O Allah! I am only for You!
-I have no other intention except to please You because there is no partner to You.
Of course, you can think of many more dimensions in this regard.

3. Innal-hamda
Verily all praise and thanks belong to You

Hamd means praise and thanks. When it comes to praise, you can think of a number of things. Allah [swt] has more than 99 Names and for each of His names, you can praise Him. So right there you have 99 ways to praise Him! For example, O Allah! You are the best in showing intense mercy (Ar-Rahman), the best in showing continuous mercy (Ar-Raheem), the best Creator (Al-Khaliq), and so on.

When it comes to thanking Allah, the list can be endless here too. Some of these are mentioned in the blessings below.

4. Wan-ni`mata
Verily, all blessings belong to You

You can first start acknowledging His blessings on you for giving you the opportunity to perform Hajj or Umrah. Furthermore, the list can be; ‘Thank You, O Allah for Your countless blessings as:
– performing Hajj or Umrah in spite of all my sins and deficiencies
-giving me enough money to afford it
-keeping me healthy, keeping me free from any constraints or pressures
-helping me plan for it, providing me facilities of travel and stay
-providing me with safe transport and safe passage
-giving me the tongue and the voice to thank You
-giving me a chance to thank You with my heart

In addition to thanking Allah [swt] for giving the opportunity to perform Hajj or Umrah, you can start thanking for everything you have in terms of:
-your sound body parts like eyes, ears, nose, etc;
-mother, father, brothers and sisters, your spouse, children, teachers, colleagues, friends;
-safe house, safe country, safe earth, safe solar system, safe universe, etc;
– major blessings such as Islam, Iman, being born in the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh], giving the understanding of Islam, and so on.
– at the end, don’t forget to thank Allah for giving an opportunity to thank Him, with sincere realization that our thanks are full of deficiencies.

This style of praise and thanking can also be repeated after every Salah when you repeat 33 times Alhamdulillah!

5. Laka wal-mulk
Verily, all sovereignty belongs to You

Not only the blessings are Yours but the power, the kingdom, the sovereignty, the dominion all belongs to You alone. That is true for:
-This country
-This earth along with all its powers and richness
-The wind, the rains, the light, and the darkness
-The moon, the sun, the stars, the quasars, the black holes, the galaxies
– The creatures on earth and the sea and those in the skies; the humans, jinns and angels

O Allah! You have absolute, full, complete control and power on everything.

6. La shareeka lak
You have no partner

No partner to You in praise, thankfulness, and in sovereignty. Everything that I have is only from You. I will always remain Your and only Your slave. I will not:

-Have any hopes in anyone other than You
-Be afraid of none other than You
-Ask anyone other than You
-Be impressed by anyone other than You
-Love anyone more than You.

The beauty of being One

You can keep reflecting on these different meanings every time you say the six parts. Make sure to ask Allah [swt] to help you go deeper in the meanings of the Talbiyah as you repeat it again and again.

‘La shareeka lak’ (You have no partner) is repeated in the first and in the last part of the Talbiyah. Let us say it realizing the danger of shirk. Let us beg Allah [swt] to make us true in Tawheed (oneness of Allah).

I still remember a young man walking alone on his way from Arafat to Mina with his eyes focused on the road close to his feet repeating the Talbiyah out loud with love and passion. He was not bothered at all with what was going on around him. It was him and his Creator and I can still feel the love and the warmth in his recitation. I wish and pray all of us could say the Talbiyah with this warmth, or even better.

Proclaim your passion!

Some people unnecessarily feel shy to say the Talbiyah loud; it is Shaytan who whispers to you to avoid saying it loudly. You are there in Hajj or Umrah in front of Allah [swt]. Allah blessed you with that huge award of coming to His House. Don’t waste this huge opportunity of saying it loudly.

You say it slow and you perhaps will miss the witness of and the interaction with those stones, rocks and clods around you because they did not hear you! Don’t forget, these are the stones, rocks, and clods of Makkah, the best of the lands! However, for women, they should not raise their voice above what is needed to hear themselves.

May Allah make your Hajj mabroor and your Umrah maqbool. Please remember us in your prayers.

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The Virtue of Remembering Allah

The Virtue of Remembering Allah

 

(Source:Hisnul Muslim)

 

Allah the All-Mighty has said

2:152

“Therefore remember Me. I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and never show Me ingratitude” – Al-Baqarah 2:152

And He said:

33:41

“O you who believe, remember Allah with much rememberance.” – Al-Ahzab 33:41

And He said:

33:35

Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward”-Al-Ahzab 33:35

And He said:

7:205

And remember your Lord within yourself in humility and in fear without being apparent in speech – in the mornings and the evenings. And do not be among the heedless. – Al-Araf 7:205

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “He who remembers his Lord and he who does not remember his Lord are like the living and the dead.” – Al-Bukhari, cf., Al-Asqalani, Fathul-Bari 11/208; Muslim 1/539 with the wording “The house in which Allah is remembered and the house in which Allah is not remembered is like the living and the dead.”

And he said, “Allah the Most High says, ‘I am with my slave when he thinks of Me and I am with him when he mentions Me. For if he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in a gathering, I mention him in a superior gathering. If he approaches Me by a hand’s width, I approach him by an arm’s length, I approach him by two arms length. And if he comes to me walking, I hasten to him swiftly.'” – Al-Bukhari 8/171, Muslim 4/2061; this wording is from Al-Bukhari.

Abdullah bin Busr (raa) said that a man asked the Prophet (pbuh), “O Messenger of Allah! Verily, the sanctions of Islam have become too numerous for me (to perform them all). Inform me of something (simple) that I may adhere to.” The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Let your tongue always be moist with the rememberance of Allah.” – At-Tirmithi 5/458, Ibn Majah 2/1246. See Al-Albani, Sahih At-Tirmithi 3/139 and Sahih Ibn Majah 2/317.

And he said, “Whoever reads one letter from the Book of Allah, will receive one Hasanah (reward for a good deed), and one Hasanah comes with ten like it. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is a letter. Indeed Alif is a letter, and Lam is a letter, and Mim is a letter.” – At-Tirmithi 5/175. See Al-Albani, Sahih At-Tirmithi 3/9 and Sahihul-Jami’ As-Saghir 5/340.

Uqbah bin Amir (raa) said: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) came out (from his house) and we were on the porch (As-Suffah). So he said, “Who of you would like to go out in the morning everyday to the valley of Buthan or Al-‘Aqeeq and come back with two large she camels without commiting any sin or severing any family ties?” We replied, “O Messenger of Allah! All of us would like this.” So he said, “Would one of you not go to the Masjid and learn to recite two Verses from the Book of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic? That would be better than two she camels. And three Verses would be better for him than three she-camels. And four Verses would be better than four she-camels, and whatever their number may be of camels.” – Muslim 1/553

And he said, “Whoever sits and does not mention the Name of Allah (before he rises) will find it a cause of sorrow from Allah. Whoever lies down to sleep and does not mention the name of Allah before rising, will find it a cause of sorrow from Allah.” – Abu Dawud 4/264. See Al-Albani, Sahihul-Jami’ As-Saghir 5/342.

And the Prophet (saw) said: “No people sit in an assembly without mentioning Allah, and without asking Allah for blessings on their Prophet, except that it will be a cause of sorrow upon them. Thus if He (Allah) wishes He will punish them, and if He wishes He will forgive them.” – At-Tirmithi. See Al-Albani, Sahih At-Tirmithi 3/140.

And he said: “No people may rise from an assembly in which they have failed to mention the Name of Allah without it being as if they were getting off a dead donkeys rotting back, and it would be a cause of grief for them.” – Abu Dawud 4/264, Ahmad 2/389. See Al-Albani, Sahihul-Jami’ 5/176.

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