Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Help the Helpers!

Our helpers, whether at home or elsewhere are people who deserve our respect. Although they are doing a job which, to some of us is menial and ordinary but in reality their work is something that requires real hardwork and patience. 

Who can ever wish to clean the trash of others and earn money? These people, most of them, do these jobs because they have no other choice. The good part is that they do not choose to beg.
They often bear the rude attitude of their masters and keep quiet and patient because they know it is something they would face with those who do not have a heart for them.

I feel greatly thankful to have Islam as my religion which teaches us the manners to deal with those who are less fortunate and who serve us in different ways. 

Although we pay them but still they are entitled to much kindness and good treatment from us.
Paying does not make them our slaves and we have no right to abuse, exploit or burden them with more work than they can physically bear.

It was narrated from 'Abdullah bin 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“Give the worker his wages before his sweat dries.”
Sunan Ibn Majah Sahih

Most of us do not give much importance to this issue of having a helper and taking care of him or her. We just leave all the work undone for them to do and do not feel the need to be a little more thoughtful in this matter. 
For example, when it is nearly the time for your help to arrive for the work you can keep the things partially ready for them to start off. You can assemble all the dishes and utensils that need to be washed in one place.
You can keep the room ready for vacuum cleaning or mopping by removing things that need to be removed or emptying the floor.
The mop can be soaked in advance so that it gives a better result when it is used.
It is not necessary that, since you are owner of the house and he/she the helper, you can become a couch potato and just leave everything unattended.
More than providing them with a little help physically we need to be kind and considerate too.
Sometimes he or she might not be feeling well or will not do the work upto the mark. We should understand the situation and then react.

Another heart warming narration from the Ahadith of our kind Prophet ﷺ is as follows: 
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:  
(Allah (SWT) says:) “I am the opponent of three on the Day of Resurrection, and if I am someone's opponent I will defeat him: A man who makes promises in My Name, then proves treacherous; a man who sells a free man and consumes his price; and a man who hires a worker, makes use to him, then does not give him his wages.” Sunan Ibn Majah Sahih  
The poor people are deprived of so many necessities in their lives. Those of them who choose to work hard instead of begging are worthy of our respect. They are rewarded for all the hardships that they bore in this world by the Almighty as we come of know by a narration:

Narrated `Imran:The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "I looked at Paradise and saw that the majority of its residents were the poor;.... Sahih al Bukhari 5198 
 Even the words of the most High, the Almighty God mention the poor and the needy at so many places in the Quran. Infact, they have been given special mention whenever there is the mention of charity. 

[Charity is] for the poor who have been restricted for the cause of Allah , unable to move about in the land. An ignorant [person] would think them self-sufficient because of their restraint, but you will know them by their [characteristic] sign. They do not ask people persistently [or at all]. And whatever you spend of good - indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.
Surah Al Baqarah 263 
 And last but not the least read this beautiful heart softening Hadith narrated in the most authentic of the books of the traditions of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, who was indeed sent as a mercy to all of humanity:

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: 
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "When your servant brings food for you and you do not seat him with you, you should at least give him a morsel or two out of it because he has prepared it himself."
[Al- Bukhari].
 The least we can do for someone is to pray for them. I know of a person who always prays after her servant completes all the housework and leaves. She prays: "O Allah! have mercy on the person who has done the work for me!"

Hope we help the helpers by spreading a little kindness and happiness in their life! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Do we feel secure?

city, street, house, broken

We are amazingly carefree and heedless. Although, day in and day out we see and hear countless mishaps around us. The news is filled with more accidents and calamities than any good news of reconstruction, rehabilitation, repair or development. 

It is possible that the news covers most of the exciting and attention seeking part of the happenings like unusual things, crimes, and alarming events and does not focus much on the calm and serene good things that are also there. But still, as we take a look around us we mostly see people having various problems in life. We hear of people dying either of natural calamities, accidents or murders. The picture comes out to be quite negative. Throughout history we have been shown a big picture of wars and destruction and wiping out of civilizations. And still, today, right at this moment while I type this sentence, hundreds of thousands of people in various parts of the world are going through great difficulties and pain. Some are dying in the hospitals or on the streets, some are going through immense pain of various kinds, some children are being tortured, some women are being abused, some men are been exploited, some people are dying of hunger, some are homeless or jobless and are finding life one miserable thing to carry on with.

Throughout the world there is some or the other kind of calamity going on, natural or imposed.
People don't just die of hunger or illness they also die of the cruelty and heedlessness of those in power.
Whatever the scene may be, we are here at the other end watching, listening to or reading these mishaps. 
Do we feel secure that all this could not happen to us?
Did the girl who was molested ever thought that it could happen to her?
The person who was murdered did ever imagine that one day he would die that way?
Those who were wiped out due to floods, earthquakes and Tsunamis did even dream that their life would end like that?

No one is secure. No one should feel secure of the unwarranted mishaps that might take us away in seconds. 
We recently heard of the Muslims of Burma who had been persecuted by the Buddhists just because they are Muslims. They fled in boats and were stranded at the sea for days. Can we understand their plight?
No, because this is something that we have not witnessed with our own eyes or have been through it. 
If we are at a position where we sit in the comfort of our offices or homes, enjoying peaceful and seemingly secure life, we must not become heedless of the chance that we might also suffer something that can cost us our lives. 

How can we feel 100% secure when we do not have power over anything?

We take things too lightly and do not want to burden ourselves with the overwhelming thought of accountability and vulnerability. 
Those who talk of sensitivity, care, consciousness and a conscience that is constantly aware of the fact that our life is just a matter of numbered breaths, are considered as "pessimists"or "negative"thinkers.
We should be constantly aware that the One Who has power over all things, the One Who has created us and this world, has the power to shake us up if He sees that His slaves are not behaving well. Or this might just be a test for the believing ones. 

As mentioned by Allah in His noble Words:

"Then do you feel secure that [instead] He will not cause a part of the land to swallow you or send against you a storm of stones? Then you would not find for yourselves an advocate."
Chapter The Night Journey Sign 68

 The point I am trying to make is that one should not live a heedless life. One should not see the mishaps as things happening on the other side of the world which is far from me. They could not happen to me. I am healthy, doing fine, living comfortably so I am quite safe-this is true and we should be thankful for it! But the way to thank God for keeping us safe is to have a heart for those who are not safe and never to feel secure from the Power of the Creator Who is Ever Watchful over us.

"Do you feel secure that He who [holds authority] in the heaven would not cause the earth to swallow you and suddenly it would sway?"
Chapter The Sovereignty Sign 16

This earth, that we inhabit, is a Creation. It is controlled by God. The inhabitants of this world are humans; intelligent and responsible beings. When they become heedless of their purpose here, the Almighty has all the Power to remind them and His ways are known to Him alone. He can give respite to anyone He wants and He can be quick in punishment for anyone He Wishes.

"Or do you feel secure that He who [holds authority] in the heaven would not send against you a storm of stones? Then you would know how [severe] was My warning."
Chapter  The Sovereignty Sign 17

So, let us not live a life of heedlessness and be conscious of our vulnerability as a mere creation of the All Powerful, the Almighty God.

Let us be humble and always think of a larger purpose of our life  and our existence,
our purpose and our goal of life,
should be larger than life itself. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

The daily dose

Several medication pills on a spoon isolated against white background. This is the daily dosage of a an inhibitor course for HIV.

All praise is due to the Lord of the worlds the Almighty Allah and peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Final Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

Prayer is a very important part of Islam. It is the rememberance of the Creator and keeping in touch with Him. Muhammad peace be upon him used to say that Prayer is the coolness of his eyes.

Prayer is the way to Paradise. 
The more a person remembers Allah in his or her prayers and the more he prostrates, he is entitled and hopeful to enter the Paradise.

The victorious are the ones who establish prayer at the appointed time.

Prayer is the best way to adopt when one is going through tough times. It is said in the Quran that we should ask help by practising patience and establishing prayers. 

All the prophets mentioned in the Quran and the Ahadith used to pray and fast and we come to know this through the Quran and Ahadith.  

Those who seek the Guidance of God are the ones who establish prayers.

The believers do not approach Salaah or prayer in callousness or laziness.

Those who pray with careless ness and with show off are not successful in the Hereafter. 

Leaving the prayers are the ways of ignorant and misguided people.

These and many more reflections and facts found in the Quran and Ahadith of our beloved Prophet show us the importance of Prayers.
Prayer is the only thing that apparently differentiates between a believer and a non believer.

Establishing the daily prayers is like adorning oneself with the Grace of Allah and moving about in submission and obedience. 

It is like one has taken the daily dose of spiritual power and connection with the Creator. If one is conscious of the fact that one is just a creation of God, and always remembers Him, the best way to keep this in one's daily routine is through prayers.

We as Muslims are truly blessed to have a prescribed daily dose of prayers for us which no doubt instills amazing displine and humility. We are required to be clean in a particular way to prepare ourselves for the five daily prayers and there is nothing that we need while we perform the prayer, like some specific things that sometimes are required in various rituals of some cultures.

The rememberance of the Lord is in our hearts. We just rehearse His words and perform the whole action of the prayer the way our Prophet guided us to. One is required to utter the Words of the Creator and some supplications taught by the Prophet, peace be upon him. 

This daily dose is immensely helpful in making us spiritually healthy and continually connected to the Creator and it also has physical benefits. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Obligations

Giving everything its due value is Justice. 
The word Haqq in Arabic denotes justice in giving the due importance and regard to people and things and the greatest Haqq is to give the Creator His credit by worshipping Him alone without associating partners.

Huququllaah and Huququl Ibad are the terms used to represent the rights of God and the Rights of people respectively. 

The opposite is Zulm.  When we don't give people or things their due rights or value and when we don't put things in their due places it is called zulm or Injustice. Every living being has its value. 

Not giving the Haqq is Zulm.

Huququllah or the Rights of the Creator 

Unless and until we acknowledge, understand and have firm belief in the Oneness of God and His Supremacy we can never realize how He should be obeyed and how he should be feared. The creatures have the obligation to know Who created them, where they have come from and to where they belong. They have the obligation to know and believe in the Creator and Worship Him as He should be worshiped. 

In Chapter 2 Ayah 102 Allah says:

O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him].

This is not for Allah, rather it is we who benefit in this world and would benefit greatly in the Hereafter if we give our Creator His right to be worshipped and obeyed.
A Muslim or a person who has submitted his or her will to the Will of Allah has achieved the status of a believer and he enjoys the fruits of Iman in both the worlds. The ultimate aim or success for him is nothing but the Pleasure of Allah.

The ultimate objective of a true Muslim is to gain Divine pleasure and attain success on the Day of Judgment. For achieving this objective we get detailed guidance from Qur’an and Sunnah regarding our religious obligations, which may be described with reference to the following three important terms:  (1) Personal enslavement to God, (2) Acting as witnesses unto all of mankind, and  (3) Establishing the system of social justice of Islam.  We have clearly spelled out the pre-requisites of these duties at length. 
                                                                   Dr Israr Ahmad in The Obligations to God 

This is an amazing topic and one can write on and on about the Greatness of Allah and His blessings and Mercy to all His creatures whether they are believers or not. Allah guides Whom He wills and those who fulfill their rights as Muslims hope and pray for the True Success that is promised by their Lord.

Huququl Ibaad or the Rights of the people

Apart from Huququllah, a believer is also required to fulfill the rights of his near relatives, neighbours etc. These are called Huququl Ibaad which are based on Justice and morality. Among them the parents are the most important people. A mother has great rights in Islam and there are numerous verses and Ahadith to back this obligation.

This does not complete the whole picture but...

the others who are entitled to be taken care of and given due value are the blood relatives.
Among them we can count our own siblings, to cousins and other relatives.
Allah wants us to be kind to them and to give them due respect and importance. 

“Blood relations, like a brother, parental or maternal uncle, cousins and all your kindred have the right to kinship each in accordance with his or her nearness. Allah Almighty says: "And give to the kindred his due." 
(Al-Isra’: 26) 
And, "Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kins-folk..." 
(An-Nisa’ 4: 36)

Relatives have to maintain good ties and extend physical and financial support in accordance with the relative exigencies and nearness of kinship. It is an injunction dictated by canonical laws, reason and human nature.Qura’nic and Prophetic texts emphasize the necessity of cementing kindred ties and maintaining them abound.
The Prophet, peace be blessings be upon him, said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should maintain good relation with his kindred.” 
(Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Unfortunately, a lot of people have neglected this right and no longer discharge their obligations, material, social or moral towards their kin. Days and long months could elapse without even paying one's relations a visit or gaining their favor with a present. It has become a habit that one finds it difficult to even try to satisfy a certain need or ward off a misfortune that happens to befall them.

Some people behave differently. They maintain good ties as long as their kindred do the same, but otherwise they sever them. Real cherishing of blood relation is not observed in anticipation of equal reaction on the part of one’s kin; but the ties should be maintained for Allah’s sake only, maybe this is done from one side only while neglecting the behavior of the other side in its return. 
`Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`Aas quotes the Prophet, peace be blessings be upon him, as saying: "Al-Wasil (one who maintain good relation with his kinship) is not the one who recompenses the good done to him by his relatives, but Al-Wasil is the one who keeps good relations with those relatives who have severed the bond of kinship with him." 
(Reported by al-Bukhari)
Abu Hurairah quotes a person as saying: 
“O Messenger of Allah, I have relatives with whom I try to have close relationship, but they sever (this relation). They return my good treatment with bad behavior, my kind approach with harsh manner. Upon this he (the Prophet) said: “If it is so as you say, then you in fact throw hot ashes (upon their faces) and so long as you adhere to this (path of righteousness), Allah will always help you and He will protect you against their mischief." 
(Reported by Muslim)
Maintaining good ties with one's kindred is bound to earn one Allah's mercy, affluence and deliverance from distress, in addition to amity, attachment and spirit of cooperation that will envelop the whole atmosphere of the family in both adversity and prosperity. It goes without saying that severance of kinship ties melt away all these benefits and sow the fruit of discord among relatives.”Allah Almighty knoes best.

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from http://www.iad.org/Islam/rkin.html

Reference:  http://www.onislam.net/english/ask-the-scholar/family/ties-of-kinship/175619-islams-care-for-ties-of-kinship

In some verses where the Muhajireen and Ansaar are mentioned and the law of inheritance was being discussed Allah mentions the importance of blood relatives and their right of inheritance. 

And those who believed afterwards, and emigrated and strove hard along with you, (in the Cause of Allah) they are of you. But kindred by blood are nearer to one another regarding inheritance in the decree ordained by Allah. Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of everything.

Surah Anfal 75

The blood relatives (mother, father, brothers, sisters etc.) therefore, have a relationship that is acknowledged by the Creator Himself and it should by no means be belittled by anyone. The life and practice of Muhammad ﷺ  tells us that the elders should be respected, the younger ones should be dealt with mercy and care and they should all support each other by all means. 

It is indeed not giving Haqq when someone gives preference to other distant relatives over the nearest relatives. This is something which is against the simple logic as well as the moral obligation as dictated by our beautiful and Just religion Islam.

Islam is based on Truth and Justice and this is what it requires us to do as wise and informed believers who take their notes from the Quran and Sunnah; these being the constant Guide and teachers in our life. 

To conclude, the only thing to be kept in mind while giving everyone and everything its due and its Haqq we must first realize its importance and place in our life. For example we are required to love Allah above anyone and anything else. After Him is the Messenger of Allah Muhammad ﷺ who should be given preference over everyone and even our own selves. 

Under this category of obligation we can have people ranging from our near relatives to those who are absolutely unrelated like the poor people, the orphans, the wayfarer, the traveller, the companions and the neighbours. We have to give each of them their due rights and have a clear understanding of what our duties toward them are. 

Consequently, a person is required to give the people in his life importance which is due unto them. This is the way to maintain a balance in our worldly life as a whole and to ensure that we get our due reward in the Hereafter inshaAllah! 

Give everybody his right and everything will be all right. 

The Return Journey

Yesterday I was invited at a friend’s place to a dars (a talk that involves remembering Allah and giving good advice to the audience). H...