Sunday, June 17, 2018

Spiritually yours...(An interactive session with my Quran Teacher 2018-Jeddah)

The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those - Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.
Allah has promised the believing men and believing women gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally, and pleasant dwellings in gardens of perpetual residence; but approval from Allah is greater. It is that which is the great attainment.
Surah At Tawbah 71-72

By the grace of Almighty Allah, once again the students, staff and their guests had a chance of having an interactive session with Ustazah Dr Farhat Hashmi. The programme started with a beautiful recitation of Aayaat from Surah At Tawbah by Abla Tahreem, in which Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala mentions the qualities of the believers and He promises to reward such believers with the great rewards of His Pleasure and eternal happiness in Paradise.

Ustazah started her talk by mentioning the importance of Iman and how it affects and changes the hearts of the believers. She said that when Iman reaches the heart it makes it sensitive to things other than the immediate and worldly things. The condition of the heart changes considerably. She gave the example of the rising of the sun after a long dark night. How the light of the sun brightens up everything and one can see things clearly in broad daylight. The same things that seem doubtful in the dark of the night (like a rope can be mistaken for a snake) now are cystal clear and one can easily differentiate between the harmful and beneficial things. Similarly when Iman lights up the heart the person is able to differentiate clearly between what is right and what is wrong, what is bad and what is good.  In the light of Iman we can see the reality of things, the real colour of every matter. Therefore, basically Iman is likened to a light that shines the heart and it puts light on the truth of matters.

The sign of Iman is that one is able to make a difference between good and evil. This is a very strong feeling. One is now well aware and hence sensitive to carry out his or her duty of enjoining good and forbidding evil around him/her.
When someone takes the step to stop evil with his hand it is the highest form of Iman. The stage lower to this is when someone is verbally telling others to stop the evil. And the lowest form of Iman is when one is only thinking of something as bad and not capable of doing or saying anything to stop it.

When the light of Iman enters the heart it turns ones vision to a vision of wisdom (al baseerah) and it no longer remains just the physiological vision. It is an awakened heart now. The heart has started seeing things in depth, in their real form. 

Now this enlightened heart is no longer impressed by the glitter and glamour of this fleeting world. It is now more and more concerned about the place of return, the Hereafter.

Usually what happens is that people are afraid to do this duty of commanding good and forbidding evil due to the fact that their loved ones will get angry or will dislike them.
This is absolutely normal that one is careful about not making those whom he loves angry. What about Allah? Should one not be more careful in keeping Allah happy and gaining His Pleasure? This is exactly what Allah is telling in these aayaat from Surah At Tawbah that the Pleasure and Approval of Allah is the greatest achievement for the believers. We are afraid of people. We should be more careful about Pleasing Allah.

A conflict arises here that when one goes to Please Allah the people get angry. A believer decides whose happiness and pleasure is to be given the priority.

All of us must have experienced this situation that when any of our friend or relative gets angry our heart can feel a burden. Nothing seems delightful. Like when a husband is angry with his wife she is not able to feel happiness in anything. This is the test of Iman in life.

 A weak Iman takes you to please and seek the attention of the people around you but a stronger Iman lets you do things that Please Allah. When one is busy in gaining praise, attention and pleasure of the people the sweetness of Iman becomes less.

Each passing day is making our life shorter. The day of meeting Allah is coming nearer.
Those who are helping others for the sake of Allah are the really fortunate ones. We have to take care of the rights of Allah as well as the rights of the people around us. This is the best way to have a balanced life in Islam. This beautiful balance will come only with an increased Iman.

What kind of Iman do we have? Are we really the believers? The companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to fear hypocrisy and always strove toward pleasing Allah and making their Iman stronger.

And of the people are some who say, "We believe in Allah and the Last Day," but they are not believers. Surah Al Baqarah ayat 8

Is our belief and good deeds worth the appreciation in the sight of Allah? True believers keep striving to do good and to be amongst the Muhsineen, those who do good at the level of excellence.

The aayaat  from Surah At Tawbah that were recited in the beginning highlight the characteristics of the believers:

1    1. The believing men and believing women are allies of one another.

We must analyse ourselves if we really are the allies of each other as believers. There should be no group formations and segregation when this alliance is meant. Every believer should have love and care for the other believer regardless of his or her background etc.

2.       They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong

This mutual and heartfelt love for the believers leads to the characteristic of commanding good and forbidding of evil. This comes as sheer concern for the believing brothers and sisters. How concerned are we for our children, for our friends and relatives and what kind of connection do we have with them as believers marks our initiative to command them toward goodness and warn them against the evil. This is purely to help them build their Aakhirah. What is a friend who does not feel concerned about your falling into sin and destruction?
3.       They establish prayer
4.       give zakah and
5.       obey Allah and His Messenger.

At this point Ustazah mentioned about her son in law’s meeting with Sheikh Saad bin Nasser Al Shathri, who delivers the sermon at the time of Hajj. The points worth learning from this meeting are as follows:

  1.       It is desirable to drink Zam Zam while being in Haram as this sacred water and sacred place have special significance and also because dua is answered when we drink zamzam and make dua.
  2.      The best dua one should always make is to be able to have the honour of seeing Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala.
  3.       The greatest thing is to gain the pleasure of Allah.
  4.       Markets are the worst of places on the face of earth so one should avoid them as much as possible.
  5.       The sheikh told that he gives charity after every salah.
  6.       He does not keep social media apps on his phone because these waste a lot of time.
  This sheds some light and insight into the life of those who have knowledge. They have a lifestyle which is based on knowledge and wisdom and the understanding of deen that is bestowed upon them by Allah due to their increased Iman and taqwa. True aalim is the one who applies the ilm that he gains. He teaches by the way he walks and by the way he spends his life.

With the Iman in one’s heart the believer becomes a well wisher for all the believers.
At this point we are reminded that we must apply that which we learn.

Such believers who are allies of each other, commanding good, forbidding evil, establishing prayers, giving zakat and obeying Allah and His Messenger peace be upon him, those - Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. Allah will surely show mercy to them.  They will attain that both in the world and in the Hereafter.

Allah has promised the believing men and believing women:
  •     gardens beneath which rivers flow,
  •     wherein they abide eternally, and
  •     pleasant dwellings in gardens of perpetual residence; but
  •     approval from Allah is greater. It is that which the great attainment.

When it is promised by Allah it will surely happen. The need is to know what makes it possible to attain the approval of Allah and His Pleasure.

The consciousness about Allah is what is called Taqwa. A muttaqi is the one who safeguards himself from all those things that might earn him the anger of Allah.

During this talk ustazah gave a tip to engage children with us in reading the Quran. We should ask them to read out themselves and then ask them what they understood from that aayah. Also it is better to fix a little time to read and understand together in the family.

My friend named Lubna asked a question regarding the issue of teaching the elders about Islam and its commandments. Ustazah told that it depends on your relationship with them. It is better to first do the surahs like Al Hujurat and Al Mulk, which have direct commands on social etiquette and things to avoid like backbiting, slandering etc. This will be a good way to get the message across without personally saying anything.  

The words of the Quran surely touch the hearts. Also, those who know are not the same as those who do not know. It is therefore always better to keep seeking knowledge and sharing it with others.  We must keep the journey of seeking knowledge ongoing till our last breathe.

Who are the Muttaqeen and the Muhsineen? Those who apply taqwa in their practical life and keep doing good are the ones who are muttaqeen and muhsineen.

How does one come to know if he or she has taqwa?
Taqwa is an inner state. It lies in the heart. We can find out if we have taqwa or not by observing our dealings outside the house with others and our behaviour inside our houses. When we go outside and deal with people we would fear harming them or violating their rights. When in our house we will be careful about our tongues and our thoughts. Tears flow from the eyes when the hearts become soft due to taqwa and ihsan. One tends to take each step carefully. The dealing actual is with Allah. We are taking care not to do or say anything that might earn the displeasure of Allah.

If we want to find out what the condition of our heart is we should pay attention to the self talk that we might do if something bad happens to us or when someone offends us. It will showcase the amount of Iman and Taqwa that resides in our hearts. We will not let evil thoughts dwell in our hearts for even a few minutes. We would not like to entertain negative feelings about anyone in our hearts. This is what is called taqwa, because evil thoughts and negativity burdens the hearts and self analysis paves way for the true success that is self actualization.

During this talk some sisters from the audience shared their experiences and concerns about their children in teenage. Their experiences were very inspiring for the others. One of the ladies told how she changed her attitude with her son and stopped scolding or nagging him and eventually he himself started sharing his feelings with her and changed himself for the better. Another one told about how the gentle reminder from a mother and the beautiful words of Allah brought significant changes in her son.

Ustazah pointed out that the teenage children should not be scolded rather they should be dealt with firmness and wisdom. If we will scold them at this point of their life they might become repulsive and go far from us. The reason is that this stage of life is very trying for them due to the various changes that they encounter. They are overly sensitive in this age.  From us what they need the most is love. We should never become hopeless  if we are not seeing the change that we want in them. In sha Allah we will see them change for good soon as whatever we teach them and show them from our own examples will affect their hearts and mind. The key is to work with them with the help of the words of Allah; the Quran.  

We should be really patient and show perseverance and tolerance when it comes to dealing with our children, especially the teenagers. The key point is to change our own attitude if we want to see a positive change in them.

A teenager herself shared how giving sadaqah every time she goes through a tough time dealing with her worries helps her calm down.
Some sisters shared their experiences with their younger children as to how they have developed a strong connection with the Quran, the prayers and other pillars of Islam.
A sister named Noorjahan shared how she strove to get her in-laws into listening to the tafseer of Al Quran and how she noticed changes in some of her relatives when they showed interest in learning the Quran like her.

Alhamdulillah the session was very informative and it included many questions and answers from the Guest section as well.

Hope you all enjoyed reading about this amazing session with our Quran teacher (Ustazah; may Allah accept all her efforts in His way, I pray for her aafiyah. aameen).

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