September 15, 2008

Dhikr - the greatest obligation & a perpetual Divine order

With the last 10 days of Ramadan approaching us, it is a good time to remind everyone to increase their dhikr of Allah and make it a means of reaping plentiful rewards.

Dhikr of Allah is the most praiseworthy work to earn Allah's pleasure, the most effective weapon to overcome the enemy, and the most deserving of deeds in reward.

Mu`adh ibn Jabal said that the Prophet said: "The People of Paradise will not regret except one thing alone: the hour that passed them by and in which they made no remembrance of Allah." Narrated by Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman (1:392 #512-513).

"And be not you as those who forgot Allah and therefore He caused them to forget their own souls. Such are the losers." [Surah Hashr; verse 19]

"Then woe unto those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allah. Such are in plain error." [Surah Zumar; verse 22]

"O ye who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance; and glorify Him morning and evening." [Surah al-Ahzab; 41-42]

"I am near to the thought of My servant as he thinks about Me, and I am with him as he remembers Me. And if he remembers Me in his heart, I also remember him in My Heart, and if he remembers Me in assembly I remember him in assembly, better than his (remembrance), and if he draws near Me by the span of a palm, I draw near him by the cubit, and if he draws near Me by the cubit I draw near him by the space (covered by) two hands. And if he walks towards Me, I rush towards him." [Hadith Qudsi]

"Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "There are two statements that are light for the tongue to remember, heavy in the Scales and are dear to the Merciful: SubhanAllahi wa bihamdihi, Subhan-Allah hil-Adhim [Glory be to Allah and His is the praise, (and) Allah, the Greatest is free from imperfection)]." [Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Samura ibn Jundab reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "The dearest phrases to Allah are four: Subhan Allah, al-Hamdulillah, Wa la ilaha ill-Allah, and Allah-o-Akbar. There is no harm in beginning them in any order you choose while remembering Allah.'' [Muslim]

Abu Malik al-Ash'ari (RA) reported: the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "Wudu' is half of Salat, and the expression: Subhan'Allah (Glory be to Allah)' fills the Balance, and the expression: Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah)' fills the space between the heavens and the earth." [Muslim]

Abu Mas'ud reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "If anyone recites the last two verses of Surat al-Baqarah, they will suffice for him,'' [Bukhari and Muslim] That is, these two verses will bring him a reward equivalent to that of a night prayer, and will safeguard him from any hurt during that night.

The Messenger (Muhammad SAW) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. They say, "We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers" - and they say, "We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all)."

Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. "Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us (Jews and Christians); our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us Forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Maula (Patron, Supporter and Protector, etc.) and give us victory over the disbelieving people.

Abu Sa'id reported that the Prophet (pbuh) asked, "Can anyone of you recite a third of the Qur'an during the night?" The Companions considered this rather difficult and they said, "Who among us can do so, O Prophet of Allah?" Thereupon the Prophet (pbuh) said, "(Say :) He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is he begotten; and there is none like unto Him.'' (The reference here is to recitation of Surah 112 (Surah Ikhlas) of the Qur'an, which the Prophet (pbuh) described as equivalent to reciting one-third of the Qur'an. [Bukhari, Muslim].

"Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "He who recites after every prayer: Subhan'Allah (Glory be to Allah) thirty-three times; Alhamdu lillah (praise be to Allah) thirty-three times; Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greatest) thirty-three times; and completes the hundred with: La ilaha illallahu, wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu, wa Huwa `ala kulli shai'in Qadir (there is no true god except Allah. He is One and He has no partner with Him. His is the sovereignty and His is the praise, and He is Omnipotent), will have all his sins pardoned even if they may be as large as the foam on the surface of the sea." [Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "Whoever says, 'La llaha illa-Allahu wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamd wa huwa 'ala kulli shai'in qadir' a hundred times during a day will have a reward equivalent to the reward for freeing ten slaves. Besides, a hundred good deeds will be recorded for him and a hundred bad deeds of his will be wiped off, and it will be a safeguard for him from Satan that day until evening, and no one will be better in deeds than such a person except he who does more than that.'' [Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi].

"Sa'ad bin abi Waqqas (RA) reported: the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to seek (Allah's) protection after prayers in these words: "Allahumma inni a`udhu bika minal-jubni wal-bukhl, wa a'udhu bika min an uradda ila ardhalil-`umur, wa a`udhu bika min fitnatid-dunya, wa a`udhu bika min fitnatil-qabr (O Allah, I seek refuge with You from cowardice, miserliness and from being sent back to a feeble age; and, seek refuge with You from the trials of this life and those of the grave)." [Bukhari]

September 10, 2008

Pearls of Wisdom

O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious) [Al-Baqarah verse 183]

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him. [Surah Al-Baqarah verse 185]

(The believers whose lives Allah has purchased are) those who repent to Allah (from polytheism and hypocrisy, etc.), who worship Him, who praise Him, who fast (or go out in Allah's Cause), who bow down (in prayer), who prostrate themselves (in prayer), who enjoin (people) for Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all what Islam has ordained) and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds and all that Islam has forbidden), and who observe the limits set by Allah (do all that Allah has ordained and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden). And give glad tidings to the believers. [Surah At-Tawbah verse 112]

Sahih Bukhari

Volume 003, Book 031, Hadith Number 120 - Narrated By Sahl (RA):

The Prophet (pbuh) said, "There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, 'Where are those who used to observe fasts?' They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it."

Volume 003, Book 031, Hadith Number 123 - Narrated By Abu Huraira (RA):

Allah's Apostle (pbuh) said, "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained."

Volume 3, Book 31, Number 125 - Narrated Abu Huraira (RA):
The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven."

Volume 003, Book 031, Hadith Number 127 - Narrated By Abu Huraira (RA):

The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)"

The fast and the Qur'an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: 'O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.' The Qur'an will say: 'I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.' And their intercession will be accepted." (Ahmad)

Abu Huraira related that the Prophet said: Allah the Majestic and Exalted said: "Every deed of man will receive ten to 700 times reward, except Siyam (fasting), for it is for Me and I shall reward it (as I like). There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts: one when he breaks the fast and the other when he will meet his Lord" (Muslim).

September 09, 2008

Fear & Hope

The heart in its journey towards Allah is like a bird; its head is love, and its two wings are hope & fear. When the head and the two wings are sound and healthy, then the bird will fly well. If the head of the bird is cut off, it immediately dies, and when either or both wings are deficient, the bird cannot fly properly and it may become the victim of a hunter that passes by. - Ibn Al-Qayyim Al- Jawziyyah

One of the great guiding principles of Islam is that the believer should tread a path between fear and hope. He should not take it for granted that he will enter Paradise, because this will make him complacent, and he does not know in what state he will die. Nor should he assume that he is going to Hell, because this is despairing of the mercy of Allaah, which is forbidden. So the believer does righteous deeds, and hopes that Allaah will reward him for them, and he avoids evil deeds out of fear of the punishment of Allaah. If he commits a sin, he repents in order to gain forgiveness and protect himself from the punishment of Hell. Allaah forgives all sins and accepts the repentance of those who repent. If a believer fears that the good deeds he has sent on before him are not enough, as you suggest, then he will increase his efforts, in fear and hope. No matter how many righteous deeds he has sent on before him, he cannot rely on them and take them for granted, or else he will be doomed. He keeps striving and hoping for reward, and at the same time he fears lest his deeds be contaminated with any element of showing off, self-admiration, or anything that will lead to them being rejected by Allaah. Allaah describes the believers :

And those who give that (their charity) which they give (and also do other good deeds) with their hearts full of fear (whether their alms and charities, etc., have been accepted or not), because they are sure to return to their Lord (for reckoning). (Surah Al-Mu'minoon verse 60)

What is the matter with you, [that you fear not Allah (His punishment), and] you hope not for reward (from Allah or you believe not in His Oneness). (Surah Nuh verse 13)

So the believer keeps on striving, fearing and hoping, until he meets his Lord, believing in Tawheed (Divine Unity) and doing righteous deeds, and earns the pleasure of his Lord and Paradise. If you think about the matter, you will realize that these are the right motives for action, and that righteousness cannot be achieved in this life in any other way.

Anas reported that the Prophet(pbuh) entered upon a young boy who was dying. The Prophet (pbuh) asked: "How are you?" The boy replied: "O Messenger of Allah, I am in-between hoping in Allah and fearing for my sins." The Prophet (pbuh) said: "The like of these two qualities do not unite in the heart of a servant except that Allah gives him what he hopes for and protects him from what he feared." (At-Tirmidhi)

Taken from