November 28, 2008

Lemonade from Lemons

We all would agree that sometimes when things don’t go as planned we tend to get disappointed and harp on negative thoughts in our mind. This makes us spiral out of control and might lead to immense frustration and emotional distress. I’ve come across various situations in the past when something didn’t quite turn out as I expected it to and I found myself being dragged down by my feelings and couldn’t really get a hold of myself. Life moves on, and I’ve realized that it’s no use fretting over something that didn’t happen. After all, Allah is the best of planners, and He alone knows what is good for us and what is not.

Here’s a simple exercise we can follow to help us spot the silver lining:

Avoid entering a situation ‘looking’ for the negative, because when you seek the negative, you often find it more than not. Stop negative thoughts in their tracks. If you give attention to negative thoughts, they will get stronger and stronger. What seems like a small matter in the beginning may become monstrous at the end.

What you should do is break the vicious cycle by shifting your focus to something positive. Sometimes, the positive may not be easy to see right off the bat, but if you look deep enough it is there. You can then reinforce this positive attention until you completely defeat the negative thoughts.

If something is bothering you, find the main cause of the problem and learn to deal with it with positive thoughts and self-encouragement. Nothing is too big a task to accomplish. Once you’ve overcome your fears, the sense of achievement you feel is much greater and worthwhile than the sense of regret and remorse you would feel if you gave in and let yourself be pulled down into negative vibrations.

Patience is half of Imân

Imân is in two halves: half is patience ( sabr) and half is gratitude ( shukr). Therefore Allâh has mentioned patience and gratitude alongside one another:
“Verily in this are signs for all who constantly persevere and give thanks” (Ibrâhîm 14:5; Luqmân 31:31; Sabâ’ 34:19; ash-Shurâ 42:33).
The reasons why one half of îmân is patience and the other half is gratitude are as follows:

1. îmân is a term which covers words, deeds and intentions, all of which are based on one of two things, action or abstinence. Action refers to performing a deed in accordance with the instructions of Allâh, which is the reality of gratitude. Abstinence, as in refraining from wrong action, requires patience. The whole of religion is embodied in these two things: carrying out that which Allâh has commanded, and refraining from that which Allâh has prohibited.

2. îmân is based on two pillars, yaqîn (conviction) and patience, which are referred to in the following ayah:
“And We appointed, from among them, leaders, giving guidance under Our command, so long as they persevered with patience and continued to have faith in Our Signs” (as-Sajdah 32:34).
It is through faith that we know the reality of Allâh’s commands and prohibitions, or reward and punishment, and it is through patience that we carry out His instructions and abstain from that which He has prohibited. A person can never come to believe in Allâh’s commands and prohibitions, and in reward and punishment, and it is through patience that we carry out His instructions and abstain from that which He has prohibited, and in reward and punishment, except through faith, and that is truly from Allâh. And we can never carry out Allâh’s instructions and abstain from that which He has prohibited except through patience. Therefore patience is half of îmân, and the other half is gratitude.

3. Man has two powers, the power of doing and the power of abstaining, which control all his behaviour. So a person will do what he likes and abstain from what he dislikes. The whole of religion is doing or abstaining, carrying out the instructions of Allâh or abstaining from that which He has prohibited, neither of which can be accomplished without patience.

4. The whole of religion is hope and fear, and the true believer is the one who is both hopeful and fearful. Allâh said:
“…They used to call on Us with love and reverence, and humble themselves before Us” (al-Anbiyâ’ 21:90).
The Prophet (SAAS) used to pray:
“O Allâh, I have surrendered my soul to You, and turned my face to You. My (own) affair I commit to Allâh and I seek Your protection, in hope of You and in fear of You” (al-Bukhârî).
So the believer is the one who is both hopeful and fearful, but hope and fear can only be based on the foundation of patience: fear should make the believer patient, and his hope should lead to gratitude.

5. Any action done by man is either beneficial or harmful to him in this world and the next, or else it is beneficial to him in the world and harmful to him in the other. The best course for man is to do that which is beneficial to him in the Hereafter, and abstain from that which is harmful to him in the Hereafter. This is the reality of îmân: to do what is good for him, and that is gratitude; and to abstain from that which harms him, and that is patience.

6. Man is always is a situation where he has to carry out an instruction of Allâh, or avoid something which Allâh has prohibited, or accept something that Allâh has decreed. In all cases, he has to face the situation with patience and gratitude. Carrying out Allâh’s instructions is gratitude, and abstaining from prohibited things and being content with the decree of Allâh constitutes patience.

7. Man is constantly being pulled in two opposing directions: should he respond to the lure of this world of desires and pleasures, or should he answer the call of Allâh and the hereafter, with the eternal Paradise that Allâh has prepared for His friend ( walî)? Going against the call of whims and desires is patience, and responding to the call of Allâh and the Hereafter is gratitude.

8. Religion is based on two principles: determination and perseverance (patience), which are referred to in the du‘â of the Prophet (SAAS):
“O Allâh, I ask You for perseverance in all my affairs, and I ask You for the determination to stay on the straight and narrow path.”
9. Religion is based on truth (haqq) and patience, which is referred to in the âyah:
“…and they (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy” (al-‘Asr 103:3).
Man is required to work according to the truth, both by himself and others, which is the reality of gratitude, but he cannot do that without patience, therefore patience is half of îmân. And Allâh knows best.

Taken from: Patience and Gratitude. By Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah. An abridgement of his original work entitled, “Uddat as-Sâbireen wa Dhâkirat by Taha Publications.

November 21, 2008

Reviving a Sunnah: Visiting the Sick

Visiting the sick does not involve only those whom you know, rather it is prescribed for those whom you know and those whom you do not know. This was stated by al-Nawawi in Sharh Muslim.

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “There are five duties that the Muslim owes to his brother Muslim,” one of which is visiting the sick.

The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Free the captives, feed the hungry and pay a visit to the sick."

This hadeeth indicates that it is obligatory, and may be understood as meaning that it is a communal obligation, like feeding the hungry and freeing the captives.

Benefits of visiting the sick

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “When the Muslim visits his (sick) Muslim brother, he is harvesting the fruits of Paradise until he returns.” (Sahih Muslim: 2568).

The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) said: “Whoever visits a sick person or visits a brother in Islam, a caller cries out to him: ‘May you be happy, may your walking be blessed, and may you occupy a dignified position in Paradise’.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

Imam Ahmad narrated that Jaabir (ra) said: The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) said: “Whoever visits a sick person is plunging into mercy until he sits down, and when he sits down he is submerged in it.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2504.

Al-Tirmidhi narrated that ‘Ali (ra) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) say: “There is no Muslim who visits a (sick) Muslim early in the morning but seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until evening comes, and if he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until morning comes, and he will have a garden in Paradise.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

Making dua for the sick person

Du’aa’ should be made for the sick person in the manner narrated in the Sunnah: “La ba’s, tuhoor in sha Allaah (No worry, it is a purification, if Allah wills).” (Al-Bukhaari).

Du’aa’ for healing should be said three times. The Prophet (pbuh) visited Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas and said: “O Allaah, heal Sa’d,” three times. (Al-Bukhaari & Muslim).

The Prophet (pbuh) used to place his right hand on the sick person and say: Adhhib al-ba’s Rabb an-naas, wa’shfi anta al-Shaafi, laa shifaa’a illa shifaa’uka shifaa’an laa yughaadir saqaman (Take away the pain, O Lord of mankind, and grant healing, for You are the Healer, and there is no healing but Your healing that leaves no trace of sickness).” (Sahih Muslim)

It was narrated by Ahmad and Abu Dawood that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever visits a sick person who is not yet dying, and says seven times in his presence: As’alu Allaaha rabb al-‘arsh il-‘azeem an yashfiyaka (I ask Allaah, Lord of the mighty Throne, to heal you), Allaah will heal him of that sickness.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

Taken from

November 13, 2008


According to wikipedia:

Consumerism is the equation of personal happiness with the purchase of material possessions and consumption.

The question arises – does owning more material things actually make you happy? Or is it one of the many tactics of the companies at large to make their millions at the expense of our over indulgence and splurging?

With pre-christmas sales around the corner, we’re bombarded from all sides to part with our hard earned money in exchange for something we may or may not need, but have surely been convinced that it’s something we cannot live without. This consumer culture that has been paved out over the past few decades has seen a rapid increase in money being pumped into the economy by the truckloads. With the present economical crisis, most countries are suffering even more due to the decrease in consumerism and the government is doing all it can to encourage the masses to get involved and keep them adrift during this economical storm.

Parental indulgence of this volume affects children and leads to childhood misery. Many sociologists believe that buying more for kids can cause unhappiness. Children who are heavily involved in a consumer culture are more depressed and anxious than other children. The advertising industry is increasingly targeting young children in order to create at an early age a demand for consumer products. The obsession with possessions affects the mental health of some children.

It is our duty as responsible parents to be cautious and alert and we need to draw the line when it’s necessary and protect ourselves & our children. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional splurge but what we should be vary of is being overcome by constant consumeristic cravings. Some of us tend to develop strong materialistic values than others and it needn’t necessarily be linked to money per se but more to the striving for it.

November 07, 2008

Reviving a Sunnah - Reciting Surah Kahf on Friday

Reciting Surah Kahf on Friday
Alhamdulilah it's Friday. Friday is an important day for us believers.

O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday ( the Day of assembly), hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business ( and traffic): that is best for you if ye but knew!" Surah Al-Jumuah

Abu Hurairah (ra) reports that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: "The most important day that ever dawned is Friday. It was on this day that Adam (peace be upon him) was created and on this day he was admitted to paradise and it was on Friday when he was expelled from there (and was appointed vicegerent of Allah ) and it is on this day that the Doom shall occur." Sahih Muslim

There are several Hadith that emphasize on the importance of reciting Surah Kahf on Fridays. It may be read during the night or the day of Jumu’ah. The night of Jumu’ah starts from sunset on Thursday, and the day of Jumu’ah ends at sunset. Therefore the time for reading this surah extends from sunset on Thursday to sunset on Friday.
  1. From Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri, who said: Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahf on the night of Jumu’ah, will have a light that will stretch between him and the Ancient House (the Ka’bah). Narrated by al-Daarimi, 3407. This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami, 6471
  2. Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahf on the day of Jumu’ah, will have a light that will shine from him from one Friday to the next. (Narrated by al-Haakim, 2/399; al-Bayhaqi, 3/249. Ibn Hajar said in Takhreej al-Adhkaar that this is a hasan hadeeth, and he said, this is the strongest report that has been narrated concerning reading Soorat al-Kahf. See: Fayd al-Qadeer, 6/198. It was classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6470)
  3. It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahf on the day of Jumu’ah, a light will shine for him from beneath his feet to the clouds of the sky, which will shine for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will be forgiven (his sins) between the two Fridays.’ Al-Mundhiri said, this was narrated by Abu Bakr ibn Mardawayh in his Tafseer, with an isnaad with which there was nothing wrong. (al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, 1/298)


November 05, 2008

Youngest Memorizer of the Holy Qur'an

Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah Region, with Tabarak Akmal Al-Labboudi, world’s youngest memorizer of the Holy Qur’an, in Jeddah on Monday. Al-Labboudi is only five years old. Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Hanafi, Chairman of the Qur’an Memorization Charitable Society in Jeddah, is seen on the left. Prince Khaled congratulated the boy for his distinctive achievement and wished him success in his life. He encouraged him to continue his interest in the Qur’an.
Maasha'Allah! This article appeared in Saudi Gazzette a while back. May Allah bestow His Mercy on this little boy and his family and keep them steadfast. May He reward them with nothing less than jannatul-firdous. May the little boy grow up to be a true mu'min and may he put to practice the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Ameen!

I know a lot of parents would love for their children to be hafidh of the Qur'an. There are numerous articles floating around on the internet with tips and techniques for memorizing the Qur'an. The one I find very inspirational and motivating is the e-book compiled by Sheikh Muhammad Al-Shareef. It's called "How to Memorize Qur'an at Age 7" You can download it here.
A few days after the death of the Prophet (pbuh) some men came to his wife Aisha bint Abu Bakr(ra) and inquired about Muhammad (pbuh). They put questions to his wife concerning his character and other aspects of his life, and she replied have you ever read the Qur'an? The men replied in the affirmative, then she replied: "Muhammad (pbuh) was the living embodiment of the Qur'an." What a description of the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) from one who was most privy to his private character and morals.
May Allah assist us in our endeavours and put the Qur'an in our hearts, minds and souls.