All posts by Amatullah

A Sermon from the Dying to the Living

There once lived in Basrah a prolific and profoundly spiritual worshipper whose fear of the Hereafter caused him to become physically weak, and whose constant crying made him skinny and sick. When he was on his deathbed, his family gathered around him, and they all began to cry.

“Help me sit up.” He said. He addressed his father first: “O my father, what is making you cry?”

“My son,” began his father, “I remembered that I will lose you, and that I will be alone after you die.”

The worshipper then turned his gaze towards his mother and said, “O my Mother, what is making you cry?”

“I am crying because I will soon have to taste the bitterness of losing you,” she said.

He then turned to his sister and asked, “what is making you cry?”

“Because I will soon lose out on your kindness and will consequently have to depend on others for help,” she said.

Finally, he looked at his children and asked, “what is making you cry?”

“The prospect of hard and humiliating life of being orphans after you die,” they said. Now it was his trun to cry. “And what is making you cry?” everyone asked.

“I am crying because I saw that each one of you cried for his or her own self, and not for me, he said. Is there none among you who cries for the long, hard journey I am about to embark upon, and the few supplies (i.e. good deeds) that I have for it? Is there none among you who cries because I will be lying down in dirt? Is there none among you who cries because I will be held accountable (and might have to endure punishment)? Is there none among you who cries because of when I will stand before the Lord of all that exists (for judgement)?” He then rolled over onto his face, when they tried to move him, they realised that he had just died.

Source: Al-Mawa’iz Wal Majalis

REVISING + EXAMS = HEADACHE?

It needn’t be the case, just follow the directions to achieve great results every time, Insha’Allah.

  1. Always, always, always begin with Bismillah.
  2. Examine your niyaah (intention) and correct it if necessary.
  3. Honour your teachers no matter how strange their teaching methods seem to you. Respect and reverence for teachers are amongst the distinguishing marks of being a Muslim student.
  4. Begin making preparations well before the examinations begin. Plan out a REALISTIC timetable that will result in you having covered (or at least scanned) all the material well before your first exam. Use this final period to look at and attempt past exam papers and to compensate for any unforeseen delays.
  5. Use your teachers. If you have a problem, ASK!! You will find the vast majority of teachers only to happy too help (and inadvertently give out many heavy hints as to what’s on exam paper!)
  6. Always revise with a sheet of paper at hand so that you can build up a list of topics which you want to discuss with your teachers. DON’T rely on your memory. If you do, you will only be reminded when you are in the exam hall trying to answer a question on your forgotten queries.
  7. When revising make notes. It may seem as though you are just reproducing your notes, but persevere, believe it or not what you are doing is one of the most effective ways of revising.
  8. Give yourself regular breaks, but make sure that they don’t go on for longer than intended.
  9. Make sure you are unlikely to be disturbed whilst studying. This means turning off the TV and asking others to answer the phone. Discipline is pivotal to success.
  10. Turn off the radio. Listening to haram music takes the barakah (blessings) out of your studies. If you absolutely must listen to something try some nasheeds (Islamic Songs)
  11. Always iron out problems as soon as possible. If you don’t then you may well encounter problems when trying to understand the work that comes later.
  12. If you are getting frustrated and feel as though you are getting nowhere then try to take comfort that from the saying of the Prophet: “For him who embarks on a path of seeking knowledge, Allah will ease for him the way to Paradise.” (Muslim).
  13. If you are having problems calming your nerves on exam day, remind yourself of the ultimate purpose of life and indeed the ultimate examination; before Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgement. This should help you to put your present worries into context.
  14. Before you begin on the exam paper, take a couple of minutes out to supplicate to your Lord, asking Him to grant you success only on the condition that it’s good for your deen and patience in the event that it’s not. Then begin in the name of Allah.
  15. As you come out of the exam hall, remember to thank Allah if the exam went well. If however it didn’t go as well as you had hoped, put your trust in Him. Know that such things are sent to test us and are an opportunity for us to shed some of our sins and show our contentment with his divine decree.
  16. Extracted from: ‘TRENDS’ magazine
    courtesy of the Deen

The Realm after Death (Barzakh)

It is the belief (‘Aqeedah) of deen that after death, mankind will enter a realm before the day of resurrection, which is known as Aalam-e-Barzakh. There are many sects in Islam who claim to be Muslims but do not believe in Aalam-e-Barzakh.’ This is a grave misunderstanding on behalf of these people. Death is the ultimate reality that no human can escape. It awes people and challenges all of their false claims of deviant beliefs. It puts an end to their hopes for prosperity and success in this life. Once there, they have no way of returning to this life.

Allah say’s in the noble Qur’aan:

“Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he say’s, “My lord! Send me back. Perhaps I may do good in that which I have left behind,” Indeed no! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is a Barzakh until the day when they are raised up.”

The discussion regarding Al-Barzakh is only based on authentic text from Allah’s book and his messengers Sunnah. It has been mentioned in the Qur’aan and has been established by numerous Ahaadeeth.

Al-Barzakh has two states. A person will either be punished in this realm, which is known, as “Azhaabul-Qabr” or he will receive the blessings and bounties of Allah due to his faith and good deeds, this is known as “Tan’eemu Ahlit-Taa’ah Fil Qabr.”

Majority of the books on six Aqeedah only mention the former state and suffice on that. This is due to the fact that the narration regarding six Azhaabul-Qabr exceeds the narrations regarding Tan’eemu Ahlit-Taa’ah Fil Qabr. Also, due to the fact that there are more people who will be punished in the grave than those who shall receive bounties. It is reported in an very lengthy Hadeeth reported by Ahmed and Abu Dawood on the authority of Al-Baraa Bin Azhib, that they (the companions) when out with Allah’s messenger to the funeral of a man from the Ansaar.

They reached the location of the grave before it was dug. The messenger of Allah sat down facing the Qibla; and they sat around him quietly, as if afraid to disturb birds standing on their heads. He held in his hand, a stick with which he was moving the earth, raising and lowering his eyes three times. He said to them (two or three times), “seek refuge in Allah from the punishment of the grave.” Then he said (three times), “oh! Allah I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the grave.”

From this Hadeeth, we can see that the prophet himself seeked refuge from the punishment of the grave. No human being will be speared from the squeeze of the grave. However, the following Hadeeth indicates that it is not the same degree of severity for all people; some it would be Sa’ad bin Mu’az; however, he was squeezed once then released.” (Narrated by At-Tabrani in Al-Kabir).

However those who will receive the bounties and the mercy of Allah will truly be in the gardens of bliss. Although it is apparent that the best protection against punishment in the grave is to carry the truth belief in Allah and avoid the major sins. There are specific things that are mentioned in the Ahaadeeth that protect a person from the punishment of the grave. These things are as follows: Martyrdom on the battlefield (At-Tirmizhi), standing guard in the way of Allah (Muslim), death caused by abdomen disease (At-Tirmizhi), reciting suratul Mulk (Al-Hakim), Dying on Friday (Ahmed and At-Tirmizhi).

Before the two above mentioned, it states that the person will be approached by Munkar and Nakeer.

Author:(Maulana) Afikul Islam
(Arabic Year 6 – 2001), Darul Uloom London

Make it or Break it?

Source: As-Sabiqoon Monthly Magazine Issue 9 Sept 2006

Have you ever felt like you don’t fit in? Ever questioned why your heart still isn’t content, even though you have everything going for you??

An ex-college student was interviewed to find out about her experiences during college life and how she handled these common feelings.

Q. Was there a change from how u were when you started college, and how u were when you left college?
A. Definitely, college is the ‘make it or break it’ stage. Whilst you were at secondary school you were still growing up and learning about life, then when you start college you’re older, no one can tell you what to do anymore! A whole world of Fitnah and temptation is open before you. You either leave college as a better Muslim, with the fear of Allah instilled in your heart, or you leave it in an even shoddier condition than when you started, the choice is yours!

Q. Why do you think people are attracted to the link?
A. Every college has it, whether it’s called the ‘Link’, the ‘Quad’ or the ‘Common Room’, it�s all the same, in reality it’s the ‘Fitnah Zone!!!’ Shaytan has done his best to decorate and adorn this ‘zone,’ the same way this world has been adorned with temptations and Fitnah. People fail to realise they’re treading on the path to Jahannam (hell-fire)!

Q. Was there anyone or any particular incident that helped you change?
A. During the first few months of college I have to admit, I myself was attracted to the link. At first it was all about ‘chillin’ out and enjoying yourself, but as time went on I realised my heart wasn’t content, there was no Sukoon (tranquillity)! Even though I used to still spend most of the time in the Link, I knew I didn’t fit in! That’s when my search began…

Q. Do you think friends affect or influence how you are?
A. I can say from experience that without even realising you will begin to adopt the style and behaviour of your friends! I can recall a few incidents from college alone where practicing brothers/sisters lost all their good qualities due to bad company. However, there were also a number of students who were drowning in sin and evil, but Alhamdulillah because of good company they underwent a complete revolution!
‘A person is on the way of his friends. Therefore he should think carefully whom he is making a friend’ (At Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ahmad)

Q. After experiencing two years of college life, what advice would you give to those who are going to be starting college this year?
A. As I mentioned before, the company you keep plays a big part on who you are. Therefore try to make friends with those who have concern not only for the needs of this temporary life, but also for the requirements of your next life, the everlasting life; it is they who are your real friends!

Remember Allah (swt) sees all and He knows what the hearts conceal. Always bear this in mind when tempted by the lures of Shaytan, know that you WILL be resurrected one day, and questioned about each and every sin you indulged in, are you ready for it?

Etiquettes of seeking ‘ilm

Source: Madrassah Al Zahra Publication – Al ‘Ilmun Nafi’

Before one sets out to seek knowledge we must bear in mind there are etiquettes for seeking knowledge. Only when one attains knowledge according to them, will the knowledge gained be beneficial. If we have no respect for the knowledge that we gain, that knowledge will merely remain information. Knowledge can only be beneficial for us if we gain it according to the following guidelines:

  1. Be patient – To gain ‘ilm is not easy and a lot of hard effort and sacrifice is required. For this reason it is very important that one remains patient.
  2. Pure intention – Before the commencement of an act one must ensure that an analysis of one’s intention is undertaken. The conclusion of this analysis should be that one is performing this action to gain the pleasure of Allah Almighty and not for show. If the latter is the case, then one needs to rectify one’s intention in order to gain beneficial knowledge.
  3. Act upon the knowledge one gains – It is important that one acts upon what they know; only then is the knowledge that one has attained beneficial. By not acting upon what one knows, disrespect is being shown to the knowledge that has been obtained.
  4. Bear in mind Allah سبحانه و تعالى is Watching – It is important that one keeps this in mind at all times as only then will one think twice before commiting a wrong deed. By continuously remebering Allah سبحانه و تعالى, a person will always make Du’aa and obtain closeness to Allah سبحانه و تعالى. Insha’Allah, any difficulties in attaining ‘ilm will then be removed.
  5. Utilise Time to the Best of One’s Ability – Knowledge does not come with ease. Therefore, it is vital that one uses their time well. When given the oppurtunity to obtain knowledge, one should not reject it as one does not know when they shall taste death. One must understand the struggle our pious Predecessors went through to gain ‘ilm and so one must not take for granted that which is so easily accessible today.
  6. To be very cautious – When beginning to attain knowledge one should not spend too much time argueing with others on topics and getting ones self confused. Rather one should spend maximum amount of time trying to fully undestand individual topics in order to become fully competent in these topics.
  7. To be precise and certain – It is good to memorise certain things. Before committing anything to memory one should ensure what is being learnt is correct by clarifying with ones teacher. Then one should memorise and go over what has been taught to ensure nothing is forgotton.
  8. Studying a variety of books – When one is confident in quite a few fields then one should study a variety of books on one topic to increase ones knowledge in a variety of ways on that particular topic.
  9. Good company – Pious company and friends should be kept so that one can attain their good qualites. It is also good to keep company with those who have a great zeal for knowledge instead of those who do not. This is so that one can never be put off wanting to learn more. The ‘Ulama state, that in order to gain good habits and to acquire beneficial knowledge, it is vital to stay in the presence of good and pious people. If one is not able to be in the company of the pious, then one should read the books written by these pious people.
  10. Respect and have good conduct with the teacher – One should ensure that respect is always shown towards the teacher. One cannot gain all knowledge from books without the guidance of a good teacher.

Etiquettes of Students

If you are a student, then you should observe the praiseworthy rules of a student’s dealing with a learned man. These rules are:

  1. to greet the learned man first
  2. to speak little in his presence
  3. not to speak much so long as his teacher does not ask him anything
  4. not to ask him questions before receiving his permission
  5. not to say, by the way of objection to his words, “So-and-so said contrary to what you have said.”
  6. not to argue against his opinion in such a way as to show that he knows the truth than his teacher
  7. not to argue against his companions in his meetings
  8. not to look around but to sit with downcast eyes, quietly and courteously as if he were engaged in ritual prayer
  9. not to speak to him much when he is tired
  10. to stand up in order to show respect for him when he stands
  11. not to follow him speaking and questioning and asking him questions along the street until reaches home
  12. not to imagine evil of him in regard to those of his actions which appear abominable. The teacher knows better concerning his secret affairs
  13. When some actions of the teacher appear abominable, the student should recollect the complaint made by the prophet Moses to Al-Khidr (may peace be on them both):
    “Have you made a hole in the boat to drown the people in it? You have indeed, done a strange thing”(Qur�an 18:71)
    In fact Prophet Moses was wrong in his complaint, which he made relying upon the outward appearance (of what al- Khidr did).

From The beginning of Guidance (bidayat al-hidaya) p. 77 from Imam Ghazali translated by Mashhad Al-Allaf

5 Things to Reflect Upon

O! You Muslims who are…

  1. Desirous to drive large, shiny cars,
    REMEMBER: You will be driven one day as a horizontal passenger.
  2. Wild and crazy over expensive clothes,
    REMEMBER: You will end up in just a ‘KAFN.’
  3. Recklessly sacrificing everything to construct beautiful homes and palatial mansions,
    REMEMBER: the graveyard ‘PIT’ – one’s real home.
  4. Greedily devouring tasty dishes and all types of extravagant delicacies,
    REMEMBER: one day YOU will be the meal for ants, worms and other insects.
  5. Aspiring for fame, fortune, and bright lights.
    REMEMBER: the awaiting darkness and loneliness in the grave.

Source: ‘DEATH’ by Husainiyah Publications Estcourt

7 Wonders in Man

  1. Man is aware about his inevitable death, yet he indulges in laughter and merriment.
  2. Knowing that this world will come to an end, man still hankers after it.
  3. Man knows that everything has been predestined yet he laments over the loss of something.
  4. Man has been warned and has the full knowledge about the fire of hell but he continues to sin.
  5. Man believes in the Reckoning of the hereafter but still he persists in amassing wealth.
  6. Declaring his belief in the Unity and Oneness of Allah, yet man remembers others besides Allah.
  7. Man believes in Jannah but still finds pleasure in the idle pursuit of this fleeting world.

Source: ‘DEATH’ by Husainiyah Publications Estcourt

Flight Janazah

AsSalaam WaAlaykum WaRehmatullah WaBarkaatuhu

Welcome aboard Fly Air Janazah

When we are leaving this world for the next one, it shall be like a trip to another country.

Where details of that country won’t be found in glamorous travel brochures but in the Holy Qura’an and the Hadiths.

Where our plane won’t be Indian Air Lines, British Airways, Gulf Air or Emirates but Air Janazah.

Where our luggage won’t be the allowed 30 Kgs but our deeds no matter how heavy they weigh.

You don’t pay for excess luggage. They are carried free of charge, with your Creator’s compliment.

Where our dress won’t be a Pierre Cardin suit or the like but the white cotton shroud.

Where our perfume won’t be Channel, Paco Rabane, but the camphor and attar.

Where our passports won’t be Indian, British, French or American but Al Islam.

Where our visa won’t be the 6 months leave to stay or else but the “La Illaha Illallah”. Where the airhostess won’t be a gorgeous female but Isra’iil and its like. Where the in-flight services won’t be 1st class or economy but a piece of beautifully scented or foul smelling cloth. Where our place of destination won’t be Heathrow Terminal 1 or Jeddah International Terminal but the last Terminal Graveyard. Where our waiting lounge won’t be nice carpeted and air-conditioned rooms but the 6 feet deep gloomy Qabar.

Where the Immigration Officer won’t be His Majesty’s officers but Munkar and Nakeer. They only check out whether you deserve the place you yearn to go. Where there is no need for Customs Officers or detectors. Where the transit airport will be Al Barzakh. Where our final place of destination will be either the Garden under which rivers flow or the Hellfire.

This trip does not come with a price tag. It is free of charge, So your savings would not come handy. This flight can never be hijacked so do not worry about terrorists. Food won’t be served on this flight so do not worry about your allergies or whether the food is Halal. Do not worry about legroom; you won’t need it, as our legs will become things of the past. Do not worry about delays. This flight is always punctual. It arrives and leaves on time. Do not worry about the in-flight entertainment program because you would have lost all your sense of joy. Do not worry about booking this trip, it has already been booked (return) the day you became a foetus in your mother’s womb.

Ah! At last good news! Do not worry about who will be sitting next to you. You will have the luxury of being the only passenger. So enjoy it while you can. If only you can! One small snag though, this trip comes with no warning. Are you prepared…..you better be ! Please spread the truth and Insha-Allah our Muslim brothers & sisters will understand and practice the guiding principles, whatever way they can afford to uphold our believe of our religion Islam in this world and in the hereafter.

Muslim Uni Life?

Freedom. Young people live for the day when they can move out of the house and go to university and finally be free.

Freedom from their parents, from restrictions on their lifestyle, from everyone telling them what to do. This is why in university you find a whole generation that does what they want. Life’s short they say, let’s enjoy ourselves while we can.

So it goes for Muslims. In university you find the most amazing things, Muslims who don’t pray, Muslims who date. Why is this happening?

Religion becomes like a fairytale, when they got old enough, they knew better than to believe in it. Most have little knowledge about Islam and have maybe memorized the right rituals to get by. Why beleive something on faith, they ask. After all we cannot see heaven or hell. How do we know Islam is right anyway?

Islamic culture to them means marrying someone they never knew. It means arranged marriages and never hanging out or having fun. For girls Islamic culture has even less to offer. It would mean double standards or having to serve a husband the rest of her life.

The western alternative to this looks a lot more attractive. In western culture “love and romance” are supposedly everywhere. Everyone is out looking for love freely. Meeting someone, going out, seeking pleasure sounds alot better. But what about the downside? For love at first sight, you need to have the right image, the right hair, the right clothes. Girls have to aspire to be like the latest supermodels, they have to hold back age. Who’s going out with who, what are my friends thinking, what will happen if I don’t get the right girl or guy, what is my girlfriend or boyfriend thinking, all become important. Frustration, desperation, and unhappiness become the norm.

Imagine all the heartache youth would save if they followed the Islamic alternative. In true Islam, unlike culture, there is no gameplaying. If two people wish to be involved they are both straight with one another. Unlike what goes on today amongst some Muslims, they both meet each other and make a contract to marry. Women are treated with respect, there is no sexual bombardment like there is in western society. Sex in western culture is also often seen as a vice or a sin of the flesh. But even in religious Islam, sex is seen as natural. As long as it is in the right circumstances, when the two are committed to one another in marriage.

Drinking in college is also the norm unfortunately. If you don’t drink or party you’re seen as weird. Drinking is cool and a way for people to socialize, meet and have fun. The one who doesn’t is less of a person and ‘misses out’. Drinking and all the harms that come with it is cut off at the root in Islam. So many problems are avoided, accidents, pregnancy, violence and even rape for example.

In university and in the world, success in life is not seen in terms of religion. It is seen as what other people think, one’s careers, how much money they make. If you are religious you must have failed at life. But why do we have this seperation? and this blindness in religion?

The Quran tells us again and again not to have blind faith, not to folllow the religion of our forefathers.

Yet, we as Muslims have stopped thinking. We may think about what our friends or other people will say, but we avoid thinking about the real issues. We spend so much time on the opposite sex, thinking about careers, money etc, but we forget to think about death and how much of this we will really be able to take with us?

“Every soul shall have a taste of death and only on the Day of Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense…for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception” (Quran 3:185)

Shouldn’t we take the time to comtemplate what will happen to us after we hit the grave? After all, what is the point of life if we are not accountable for our actions? If there is no creator, what is the point of being honest or good.

If we really look at our life we see that everything is indefinate, getting a job, even living until tomorrow. In fact we could die anytime, this is a definate, the only dead certain thing in our life. Most of us believe we can make up for our actions later or we can be religious later. We are gambling. The chances of our dying today are little, but the stakes are high. Allah reminds us of the importance of this,

“O you who beleive, obey Allah as he should be obeyed, and die not except in a state of Islam” (Quran3:102)

Each of us needs to decide. Is Islam right or not? Why don’t we take the time, just once, once in our lives to find out if Islam is right. Is the Quran from God or not? We can’t see God, but is there a maker to all this? We need to study nature, and the world. We only live once. We shouldn’t go to a club thinking we are only going to ‘hang out and are not doing anything wrong’ then feel guilty about it later. We shouldn’t go on a date or drink, then feel guilty about it, worrying about hellfire.

On the Day of Judgement it will be us alone who will be asked about our actions. If we are not following this deen completely, we are injuring our own soul, both in this life and the next.

“Verily We have revealed the Book to thee in truth, for (instructing) mankind. He, then that receives guidance beinfits his own soul: but he that strays injures his own soul…” (Quran 39:41)

This is the true definition of freedom. To learn about Islam and the world openly. To contemplate about life and death. And after learning the truth, obeying the word of God.

“Those on whom knowledge has been bestowed may learn that the (Quran) is the truth from your Lord, and that they believe therein, and their hearts may be made humbly (open)to it…” (Quran 22:54)

Once students have this rock-solid intellectual beleif in Islam, the corruptness and falseness of the people around them is clear. The beauty and wisdom of the islamic way, the best alternative is clear. What other’s do is of less importance. If others think they were weird to pray or weird to be honest, they would still pray and still be honest because they know their deen.

The Prophet(SAW)’s famous hadith to ‘seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim’ (Ibn Majah) or to ‘Allah makes the way to Jannah easy for him who treads th path in search of knowledge’ (Muslim) is too often forgotten by students. Our Quran’s are left on the top shelves, gathering dust. Sometimes the most it is read is when someone dies. How is this to help, when the guidance comes too late. The Quran is for the living. The path to understanding and following Islam comes from learning first.

How many of us are Muslim, yet have never read the Quran in our native language?

How many of us are Muslim, yet have yet to open a book on hadith or sunnah?

How many of us defend Islam to non-Muslims, but do not follow it ourselves?

May Allah forgive and lead us and all those lost to the straight path, inshaAllah.

Ameen.

by Huma Ahmad
www.islambradford.com