Wednesday, July 24, 2013

God Consciousness or Taqwa (What I learnt from Dr. Farhat Hashmi's Lecture today in Jeddah)

  • Taqwa is God-Consciousness. The feeling of love, hope and fear which keeps a believer mindful of Allah, hopeful of His Mercy and fearful of hell as His punishment for disbelief or sins.
  • Fasting is a means of attaining Taqwa. In fact, the ultimate goal of fasting is attaining this state of God-consciousness. 
  • While a person fasts he leaves eating and drinking although he finds the lonely moments when he can actually eat anything if he is overwhelmed by hunger or drink if he is unable to hold on to the feeling of thirst. But a fasting person is conscious of His Lord. He knows that if he is abstaining from food it is for Allah alone. Nobody can force him to break his fast. He is answerable to Allah alone. 
  • If one wants to enjoy the everlasting joys of Paradise one must be ready to give up some of them in this world. 
  • Taqwa is basically stopping oneself from not just food and drink but from all the acts, thoughts, feelings and inclinations that might lead to the disobedience of Allah. 
  • We find that while fasting we abstain from eating and drinking completely but at the same time many other habits are influenced by it. We adjust our sleeping habits, we control our tongue, we try to do more good deeds and the like.
  • All this happens when we are conscious of what we are doing. We want to earn more and more reward in the month of Fasting. We want to get closer to Allah and get ourselves forgiven.
  • We must consciously stop ourselves from all those things that displease Allah.
  • Taqwa is attained not just by avoiding the forbidden or disliked things but also by controlling the halal things. In the month of Ramadan we stop ourselves from food and drink which is otherwise halal for us. This trains us to control our desires even for those things that are permissible so that we learn to bridle our emotions.
  • Once we realize that we are stopping ourselves from all these things just for Allah we can feel that Taqwa is making place in our hearts.
  • The Purity of Intention is the basic thing here. All that we do is for Allah alone. 
  • We as believers must also avoid harmful, useless and unnecessary things too. Idle talk, time wasters, useless interests and hobbies are all that one must avoid to attain Taqwa.
  • Taqwa is not just for Ramadan. This training must go beyond Ramadan so that we are able to control ourselves the rest of the year. 
  • Ramadan is like an annual training or treatment for us. We fast, we abstain from undesirable things, we do a lot of worship, we read a lot of Quran. This must be so that its impact is felt beyond Ramadan as well.
  • Supplication or dua is a very powerful tool to attain Taqwa. During Ramadan and otherwise do a lot of dua for yourself and your children that Allah bestows the quality of Taqwa on you.
  • Pray a lot for the improvement of behavior
  • The place of Taqwa is the heart. Keep checking your heart for the feelings it keeps. Keep checking your thoughts. Keep your heart free from malice, hate, jealously and misconceptions about others.
  • One can feel the sweetness of Iman in the heart only when the sourness and bitterness of malice is not present there.
  • We must check ourselves for our thoughts, our tongue, our behavior, lying, fighting and use of our senses and limbs.
  • Crying in Allah's remembrance, with the fear of hell fire, while reading Quran and doing dhikr or dua is a very good sign of Taqwa.
  • We must not fast with the intention of losing weight or dieting. This is not the purity of the intention of fasting. We must fast for Allah's pleasure only.
  • Avoiding wastage in food, drink and clothing also shows our eagerness to earn Allah's pleasure; hence Taqwa.
  • We all must see to it that we do not burden our helpers in housework. We must help them and make their work light especially in Ramadan.
  • Doing the voluntary worship is something that takes us closer to Allah. 
  • Doing a lot of dhikr and istighfar (seeking forgiveness), and keeping a check on ourselves when alone are things that help us in achieving Taqwa.   


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stop for a while and think...

Life goes on...
sometimes there is no time to sit back and relax...
there is no time to have some private moments with oneself and think about life and its meaning.
Since we are born, we are growing each day...we are heading toward growth and wisdom each day. It is unlikely that we grow in all aspects, experience the ups and downs of life and still remain heedless and naive.
One must learn from the life situations he or she goes through. One must grow (not only physically but) mentally and emotionally as well.
Life is a collection of good and bad times, successes and failures, happiness and sorrow. It teaches us each day through events and occurrences. 
Life goes on...
We go through various things in life. Do we ever reflect about our life as a whole? Do we think about the why of life? Everyone is here living, existing or struggling. Why are we here? Is it enough just to exist, stay in the world and go away one day? 
One must realize the purpose of life. One must think about and reflect on the goal of one's life.
Each one of us is unique. Each one of us has his skills, qualities and capabilities. 
We must try and utilize these capabilities to the best of our ability and make our life worthwhile. 
We must try and live a purposeful and meaningful life and not just exist or survive.

Friday, July 19, 2013

When Silence is Not Golden....





Nasiha Ahmed in Al Jumuah magazine writes....

WHEN SILENCE IS FUELED BY RAGE AND HELD OVER BY GRUDGE, THAT SILENCE IS LETHAL.


THE SILENT TREATMENT SIMPLY MEANS ABSTINENCE FROM SPEECH. BUT IT IS SOMETIMES ACCOMPANIED BY A COLD, MALICIOUS, OR INDIFFERENT AIR THAT BEGETS NOT MERE LACK OF WORDS BUT ALSO INTEND TO NEGLECT OR HURT.

WOMEN SOMETIMES HANDLE CONFLICT-THEY TEND TO SHUT DOWN AND CLAM UP.

MANY OF THEM RESORT TO THE SILENT TREATMENT.

INSTEAD OF SILENT TREATMENT EXPLAIN YOURSELF OR DEMAND AN EXPLANATION.

THIS SILENT TREATMENT IS POISONOUS TO MARRIAGE.

A WOMAN KNOWS THAT BEING OVERLOOKED OR IGNORED BY A FRIEND IS FAR WORSE THAN A BATTLE OF WORDS.

10 days gone...



WE WERE WAITING FOR IT. IT HAS COME. WE CAN SEE IT GOING SLOWLY...IT IS ALREADY 10 DAYS GONE...ONLY 20 DAYS LEFT. DID WE DO SOMETHING IN THESE TEN DAYS TO FEEL THE SPIRIT OF RAMADAN?
WE HAD SOME IDEAS BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THIS MONTH. WE REALLY WANTED TO SPEND THIS RAMADAN BETTER THAN OUR LAST ONE. WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN ANOTHER CHANCE. 
  • DID WE DO SOMETHING TO MAKE THIS RAMADAN EVEN BETTER THAN THE LAST ONE?
  • DID WE EAT OUR SUHOOR WITH THE INTENTION OF GAINING THE BLESSINGS THAT IT HOLDS?
  • DID WE MAKE INTENTION OF FASTING BEFORE WE PRAYED FAJR? 
  • DID WE RECITE DUA WHILE PREPARING THE SUHOOR?
  • DID WE LISTEN TO THE QURAN? 
  • DID WE READ THE MORNING DUA AND QURAN AFTER FAJR?
  • DID WE PRAY OUR FAJR NICELY?
  • DID WE UTILIZE OUR TIME OF FASTING IN USEFUL THINGS LIKE READING, WRITING, RECITING AND REFLECTING ON THE QURAN?
  • DID WE PICK UP SOME HADEETH BOOK AND GO THROUGH ONE HADEETH?
  • DID WE SHARE GOOD THINGS WITH OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS? 
  • WERE WE GENEROUS TO THE POOR?
  • DID WE MAKE OUR IFTAR TIME OUR DUA TIME?
  • DID WE PREPARE A SIMPLE IFTAAR WITH NO WASTAGE OF FOOD?
  • DID WE RELAX FOR SOMETIME DURING THE FAST?
  • DID WE GO FOR TARAWEEH?
  • OR DID WE PRAY TARAWEEH AT HOME?
  • DID WE READ 4 PAGES OF THE QURAN AFTER EACH PRAYER?
  • DID WE FIND EXTRA TIME TO MAKE LOTS AND LOTS OF DUA FOR US AND OTHERS?
  • DID WE CHECK OURSELVES FOR ANY UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR? 
  • DID WE STOP OURSELVES FROM FIGHTING, USING BAD AND USELESS LANGUAGE AND WATCHING UNHEALTHY AND MEANINGLESS PROGRAMS? 
  • DID WE FEEL THE LOVE OF ALLAH IN OUR HEARTS BECAUSE WE ARE FASTING JUST FOR HIM AND NO ONE ELSE?
  • DID WE INVITE SOMEONE OVER FOR IFTAAR OR PROVIDE SOME FOOD TO BREAK SOMEONE'S FAST?
IF WE DID ALL THIS OR SOME OF THIS UP TILL NOW THEN INSHA ALLAH REST OF OUR DAYS IN THIS MONTH WILL BE OUR BEST DAYS TOO...
RAMADAN IS PASSING SLOWLY...
LET US MAKE THE MOST OF IT NOW...


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Notes from the book I read long back....


Dr Aid Al Qarni's Book 
YOU CAN BE THE HAPPIEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD

SOME SELECTED POINTS AFTER READING THIS FABULOUS BOOK

  1. NO TO NEGLECTING PHYSICAL HYGIENE AND CLEANLINESS IN THE HOUSE AND BEING DISORGANIZED AT HOME.
  2. GHUSL (BATHING), WUDU (ABLUTIONS), SIWAK (TOOTHBRUSH), AND BEING ORGANIZED ARE EFFECTIVE MEDICINES FOR ALL KINDS OF DISTRESS AND WORRY.
  3. TAKE CARE OF YOUR HOUSE.
  4. KEEP YOUR HOUSE TIDY.
  5. IF SOME WORRY, DISTRESS OR GRIEF BEFALLS YOU, REMEMBER THAT IS AN EXPIATION FOR SIN.
  6. KEEP REPENTING.
  7. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES.
  8. THE WISE WOMAN TURNS A DESERT INTO A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN. 
  9. ALLAH DOES NOT BLESS A DAY THAT DOES NOT START WITH FAJR. 
  10. WHENEVER YOU GO AND FIND DARKNESS IN YOUR LIFE; WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO IS TO LIGHT A LAMP WITHIN YOURSELF.





Our Sins and His Mercy!

                             




















IMAM AHMED RECORDED THAT AISHAH (RA) SAID THAT ALLAH'S MESSENGER (SAWS) SAID,
"IF A PERSON COMMITS MANY SINS AND HAS NOTHING THAT WILL EXPIATE FOR THEM, ALLAH WILL TEST HIM WITH SOME GRIEF THAT WILL EXPIATE FOR THEM."
AHMAD SAHIH HADITH


ASK FOR FORGIVENESS.
DO NOT COMMIT SINS ANY MORE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
INCREASE THE TIME AND THE QUALITY OF YOUR WORSHIPS.

Mohammed Bilal Lakhani in 'Real life lessons from the Holy Quran':

THE GOLDEN RULE IS THAT ANYTIME A MUSLIM IS UNDER DISTRESS, HIS FAITH IS BEING TESTED BY ALLAH. 

SAHIH HADITH (AHMED 2:303)

"BY THE ONE IN WHOSE HANDS IS MY SOUL, NO BELIEVER IS STRICKEN WITH FATIGUE, EXHAUSTION, WORRY OR GRIEF, BUT ALLAH WILL FORGIVE HIM FOR SOME OF HIS SINS THEREBY, EVEN A THORN WHICH PRICKS HIM." 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Anger


THOSE WHO CONTROL THEIR ANGER:

THERE ARE MANY DIFFICULT SITUATIONS IN WHICH A PERSON IS SUBJECTED TO ANNOYANCE. THESE MAY BE CAUSED BY A RELATIVE, A FRIEND OR SOMEONE TO WHOM ONE HAS DONE A FAVOR. 
UNDOUBTEDLY THE ANNOYANCE, WHETHER IT IS SOMETHING WE HEAR, SEE OR FEEL IS SOMETHING THAT CAUSES US PAIN IN OUR HEARTS AND PROVOKES ALL KINDS OF FEELINGS THAT MAY MOTIVATE US TO CONFRONT THEM OPENLY. 
SELF CONTROL IN SUCH SITUATIONS IS SOMETHING THAT ONLY THE STRONGEST CAN ACHIEVE.
ISLAM COUNTS CONTROLLING ANGER AS A NOBLE ISLAMIC CHARACTERISTIC, FOR WHICH A PERSON DESERVES TO BE HONORED WITH PARADISE AS WIDE AS THE HEAVENS AND EARTH, WHICH HAS BEEN PREPARED FOR THE PIOUS.
CONTROLLING ANGER IS ONE OF THE FOREMOST CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PIOUS.
"...RESTRAIN YOUR TONGUE AND (SPEAK NOTHING) BUT GOOD."

Little of Your Mercy!


"O LORD, MY SINS ARE GREAT 
BUT A SMALL AMOUNT OF YOUR FORGIVENESS IS GREATER THAN THEM. O ALLAH, FORGIVE THE GREATNESS OF MY SINS WITH A LITTLE OF YOUR MERCY."
ABDUL MALIK

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ramadan Tips

http://productivemuslim.com/a-muslims-day-in-ramadan/#utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=RSS+Feed


Ramadan is a month of seeking forgiveness and accumulating maximum reward. A hadith narrated by Abu Huraira (may Allāh be pleased with him) states that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:
“Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving ten times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allah the Most High said: ‘Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me’. For the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time of joy when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of Musk.” [Muslim]
We set high aims for this month but achieve only a little because we are not prepared. We continue juggling between our distractions and our priorities during the month and by the time we have a routine the month is nearing its end.
We have all heard the quote, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Ramadan preparations should begin at least thirty days before the month approaches. The sahabah (may Allāh be pleased with them) used to prepare six months in advance. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) trained himself for the tough month of fasting by fasting the first fifteen days of Sha’ban. This indicates that we need a plan to have a successful Ramadan.
Before we work on our schedule for Ramadan let’s first identify the areas that we need to work on. Ask yourself, “What are the actions that are dearer to Allah (glorified and exalted be He)?” These are salah, Qur’an, dhikr, dua, sadaqah, gaining and sharing knowledge and improving akh’laq (conduct). The next question to ponder upon is, “How can we get maximum benefit out of these actions?”
Salah
·  Make a goal of performing every fard prayer at its prescribed time. The best tip to help you in this regard is to prepare for the salah a little before the adhan goes on.
·  Add sunnah and voluntary prayers with each fard prayer that you perform (where applicable).
·  Perform different extra voluntary prayers such as Duha and Tahajjud.
Qur’an
·  Recite a quarter of a juz’ after every prayer.
·  As you recite take out a few minutes to read and understand the tafsir of the ayah that you just recited.
·  Work on your Arabic knowledge by identifying new words in the ayah and studying their syntax and morphology. Corpus Qur’an is an excellent website to study Arabic grammar. Another resource for understanding root words is Project Root List. Here you can search Arabic words by their root letters and find their meaning. Next time when a similar word appears you will have an idea of what it means.
Dhikr
·  Keep your tongue moist with dhikr throughout the day. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) taught us morning and evening adhkar that are beneficial for the dunya and in the hereafter.
·  Besides the morning and evening adhkar do astaghfar as much as you can. The Prophet(peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) sought Allah’s forgiveness and repentance more than seventy times a day. Sincere repentance is our key to Jannah and a means for increase in provision. Don’t ignore it.
Dua
·  Prepare your dua list in advance. Write down everything that you really desire in your life, no matter how insignificant or silly it may appear to you.
·  Memorize the masnoon duas. Understand their meaning so that when you recite the dua, you do so with full khushu’ and sincerity.
·  Be creative and make dua cards for yourself and your family. Hang or place them around your house so that you are reminded to recite them.
Sadaqah
·  Besides the obligatory zakat keep some allowance for sadaqah.
·  Give your time, your company or sincere advice to someone, is also a sadaqah.
·  Look for opportunities to volunteer your time and skills.
Gaining and Sharing Knowledge
·  Work on your tajweed or help a friend in improving theirs.
·  Along with studying the tafsir, take out time to study the sahih ahadith books. Start from Sahih al-Bukhari.
·  Purchase or download awe-inspiring and motivational books to strengthen your iman. Kalamullah.com is a resourceful website that offers free books, lectures and articles.
·  Share your knowledge with others. Teach the tafsir that you learned with at least one more person; do so either verbally, through a Facebook status, a text message or an email.
·  Teach a hadith or masnoon dua to your family. Ask them the lessons they can derive from it.
Improving Akh’laq (conduct)
·  Utilizing the knowledge that you have acquired, start working on your character, righteousness and integrity.
·  Commit to leave one bad habit and seek sincerity from Allah (glorified and exalted be He). Avoid gossiping and backbiting. Do not concern yourself with other’s private matters but concentrate on cleansing your soul.

Now that we have identified the areas we can work on to extract maximum benefit, let’s plan a schedule:
Morning
1.Wake up for Tahajjud by reciting the masnoon dua for waking up. Wash yourself and use the siwak.
2.Perform Tahajjud in a quiet place seeking Allah’s love and forgiveness. Complete your prayer by asking dua for your concerns and worries.
3.Prepare or help the family in setting up suhur. Pick nutritious food and thank Allah for His blessings.
4.Perform Fajr as early as possible. Recite a portion of the Qur’an and study its tafsir. Make morning adhkar, read one hadith and perform Duha. Get ready to start your day.
5.Keep reciting adhkar or astaghfar as you dress up for work or school. Listen to a lecture during your commute. Try to talk less and do more dhikr throughout the day.
Afternoon
1.Perform Dhuhr. Recite a portion of Qur’an along with its tafsir.
2.Recite five masnoon dua’s and do astaghfar.
3.If you are not at work try to squeeze in a power nap for 15 – 20 minutes i.e. qailulah. This will give you the energy to stand up during Qiyaam-ul-Layl.
Evening
1.Before the Asr prayer take out a book and improve your Islamic knowledge by reading a page or two. Perform wudhu and get ready for the prayer.
2.Recite the Qur’an portion for Asr along with its tafsir.
3.Recite five masnoon dua’s and do astaghfar.
4.Give sadaqah either through money, giving food to a poor person or removing something harmful from the path.
5.Exercise
6.Help the family with preparations for iftar while keeping your tongue busy with adhkar.
Late Evening
1.When the time for Maghrib approaches go into seclusion, take out your dua list and earnestly pray for whatever you want.
2.Make dua loudly at the iftar table so that if there are any young children at home they too can pick it up from their elders.
3.Recite the masnoon dua for breaking fast. Start with dates and thank Allah for your provision. Do not eat too much and consume food in moderation.
4.As you wait for the Isha adhan, sit with your family and share an ayah that you learned today or a hadith. Ask them what they learned or a good deed that they performed during the day. Share with them stories of the Prophets and how they used to worship Allah(glorified and exalted be He).
5.Recite the fourth part of the juz’ before you leave for Isha prayer.
Night
1.Start preparing for the exclusive worship of Ramadan i.e. the Taraweeh prayers.
2.Take your family along if there is an arrangement for women as well.
3.Pray the Witr praye, recite Surah Mulk and go to bed in a state of ablution.
4.Set an alarm for Tahajjud and recite the masnoon dua for sleeping. Contemplate on your life in this world, the Day of Judgment and the hereafter.
Make dua to Allah (glorified and exalted be He) to accept your good deeds, and give you the strength to perform better. The deeds dearest to Allah (glorified and exalted be He) are the ones that are done consistently. Stay committed to your goals and do not become a “Ramadan Muslim” only!

About the Author:
Uzma Awan is a freelance writer having interests in health, nutrition, sustainability and Islam. She journals her quest for a sustainable lifestyle at Embracing SustainabilityShe also has a Qur’an blog where she shares Qur’an tafseer.


The Fish and I: Ponder on this!

By a German Poet The other day, I went to the sea And asked the fish,  "Do you know who made the ocean and you in i...