Naseeha

Salamualaykum,

I figured out why I haven’t been able to write. It’s not because I haven’t had much time (which is true), but it’s because I stopped having regular conversations with my father. SubhanAllah, the amount of clarity and inspiration I derive from him is unmatched by any other person in my life. May Allah continue to bless him and allow me to be half as inspirational as he is.

I came home from Pure Paisa and took some time to talk to Abbu about my super ambitious business plan. He listened SO attentively. Not that it’s rare or anything, it’s just that he and I both have a lot to say so we get caught up in making our points even before we fully hear each other lol. : ) So anyway, I had shared the plan with a couple people, namely the head of the Islamic Scholarship Fund and a few local leaders. They loved the idea and thought the model was on the right track, but it’s a matter of flushing out more details about human resources and actually getting the funding streams in place. I told them not to worry since this whole upcoming year will be all about iterating and changing the model to really fit what I envision and what the community needs. After explaining everything to Abbu, he gave the BEST advice I have received so far alhumdulillah. Even better than some of the leaders and speakers I talked to.

He told me to pitch my business plan to Allah subhanahu wata’ala,  but in this pitch, I need to have elements of absolute sincerity and khashya – the type of love that can co-exist with fear out of the desire to please Him and stay away from displeasing Him. He advised me, saying that any great success can only be the result of our sincere du’as and if Allah accepts the plan, what more do I need? He also said that if I do this for publicizing my name, then Allah will give that to me. But if I struggle and put my heart and soul towards this with the intention of seeking Allah’s pleasure by serving his makhluq, then bi’ithnillah only good can come from it because barakah will be an essential component, and Allah might make this a source of my entrance into Jannah insha’Allah .. not because of the effort per se, but because of the sincerity.

Allahu Akbar. Talk about encouragement and inspiration. :)

You might be wondering what the plan is, but I don’t think it’s smart to disclose it without flushing out a lot of the details and at least getting to stage 3. I spoke to a number of people who said they can help me get there, and one brother even said he could hook me up with a speaking arrangement at ISNA to get funding. Now that’s serious. But I’m starting super slow insha’Allah, and once the structure/function of the model is airtight, meaning that it’s working well in one location and producing intended results, I plan to scale up. Alhumdulillah, I think I have the juice in me to do this, and beyond that, I am confident that I can get the support because of how pressing the need is for the initiative. Just need to make some time to pitch it to Allah before taking any other steps.

So that’s it. Just wanted to share my father’s advice with you all.
I came back way before I thought I would lol. :)

-Fi Amanillah-

The Discipline of Ibn ‘Umar

Salamaulaykum,

I made the qualification quiz for our annual Battles of the MSA competition this year and it brought back many great memories of preparing for MIST and planning for Ilmathon for the last couple years alhumdulillah. While I was making questions last year, I tried to take special note of younger Sahaba (radhiallahu ‘anhum) – their characteristics, virtues, and how others treated them. One companion who really stands out is Ibn ‘Umar (radhiallahu ‘anhu). Aside from his knowledge, he was the type of individual who exercised immense caution when carrying out the Sunnah of our Messenger and he avoided anything that could be considered a waste of time. He was serious, and always engaged in that which would either bring benefit to him or those around him. May Allah develop in me and in all of us, the discipline of Ibn ‘Umar (radhiallahu ‘anhu).

Here are some translated narrations from Imam adh-Dhahabi’s ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala and Imam Ibn al-Jawzi’s ‘Sifat as-Safwah’

1 – His Discipline as a Youth:

Ibn Mas’ud said: “From the most disciplined youth of Quraysh in the face of the dunya was ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar.”

Jabir bin ‘Abdillah said:  “None of us experienced the dunya but that it affected him, except Ibn ‘Umar.”

Nafi’ said that Ibn ‘Umar presented himself to fight in Uhud when he was fourteen years old, and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) refused to allow him. He then presented himself during the Battle of the Trench when he was fifteen, and he was allowed to fight.

2 – His Discipline as an Adult:

Ibn Shihab said that Ibn ‘Umar was about to curse one of his servants, and said: “O Allah, cu-” without completing the word, and he said: “I don’t like to say this word.”

3 – His Love of Imitating the Prophet in Everything:

Hisham bin ‘Urwah said: “I saw Ibn ‘Umar’s hair reaching down to his earlobes,” and Anas reported that the Prophet’s hair also hung down to his earlobes.

‘A’ishah said: “I never saw anyone holding tighter to the original affair than Ibn ‘Umar.”

Malik said that someone informed him: “Ibn ‘Umar would imitate the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and follow his traces and lifestyle and be very keen in this, to the point that we feared for his sanity because of his keenness in this.”

Nafi’ said: “Ibn ‘Umar used to follow the traces of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) in every place he prayed. This was to the point that there was a tree that the Prophet would sit under, and Ibn ‘Umar would frequent this tree and water its trunk so that it wouldn’t weaken.”

Nafi’ said that Ibn ‘Umar told him that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) told him: “If only we could leave this door (of the mosque) for the women.” So, Ibn ‘Umar never used that door until the day he died.

Muhammad al-’Umari said: “I never heard Ibn ‘Umar mention the Prophet without weeping.”

Nafi’ said that Ibn ‘Umar was once on his way to Makkah, and stopped the animal he was riding and said to it: “Maybe my footsteps will fall where his footsteps did,” meaning the footsteps of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Tawus said: “I never saw anyone praying like Ibn ‘Umar who was stricter than him in facing the Qiblah with his face, hands, and feet.”

4 – His Friendliness With People:

Ibn ‘Umar said: “Sometimes, I go out for no reason or need except to greet people and have them greet me.”

Abi ‘Amr an-Nadabi said: “I went out with Ibn ‘Umar once, and he didn’t leave a single young or old person except that he greeted them.”

5 – His Care to Look and Smell Good:

‘Abdullah bin Waqid said: “I saw Ibn ‘Umar praying. If you saw him, you’d see him shivering about, and I saw him putting some musk in cream and rubbing it on himself.”

6 – His Humility:

Nafi’ said: “Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas would sit with the people when the pilgrims arrived, and I would sit with one of them one day, and the other the next. Ibn ‘Abbas would answer every question he was asked, and Ibn ‘Umar would refuse to answer most of the questions he was asked.”

7 – His Lack of Eating:

Ibn al-Jawzi said that he would sometimes go an entire month without even tasting meat.

When ‘Abdullah bin ‘Adiyy (a servant of Ibn ‘Umar’s) came from Iraq, he greeted him and said: “I brought you a gift.” Ibn ‘Umar said: “What is it?” He replied: “Jawarish.” Ibn ‘Umar asked: “What is jawarish?” He replied: “It helps you digest your food.” So, Ibn ‘Umar said to him: “I haven’t filled my stomach in forty years. So, what will I use it for?”

8 – His Generosity:

Maymun bin Mahran said: “Ibn ‘Umar was given 22,000 dirhams in a gathering. He did not get up from that gathering until he had given it all away.”

Maymun bin Mahran said that Ibn ‘Umar’s wife would complain about him, saying: “What can I do? I never cook any food for him without him inviting others to eat it. So, I sent some food to the group of poor people who would sit in the  road on his way from the mosque and fed them with it,” and she had told them not to sit in this road that Ibn ‘Umar took anymore and to not respond to his invitations. When Ibn ‘Umar finally got home, he said: “You don’t want me to eat supper tonight,” and he refused to eat that night.

Mujahid said: “I accompanied Ibn ‘Umar, seeking to serve him. Instead, he would serve me even more.”

Nafi’ said: “Ibn ‘Umar did not die before freeing at least a thousand slaves.”

Abu Bakr bin Hafs said: “Ibn ‘Umar would never eat food except in the company of an orphan.”

9 – His Defiance in the Face of a Tyrant:

Ayyub said: “I asked Nafi’ how Ibn ‘Umar died, and he said: “He was injured between two of his fingers by a supporting beam in the middle of the crowd during the stone-throwing of the Hajj, and this made him sick. So, al-Hajjaj came to visit him, and Ibn ‘Umar closed his eyes. al-Hajjaj spoke to him, and he would not reply.”

What an incredible companion with such superlative iman and character, radhiallahu ‘anhu.

Source

-Fi Amanillah-

“By the winds…”

Salamualaykum,

We’ve had some gusty winds around here lately. As I walked around campus and nearly flew away, I was reminded of Surah Mursalat (surah 77). Some tafseer (explanation) notes from Ust. Nouman’s lectures and Maariful Qur’an:

وَالْمُرْسَلَاتِ عُرْفًا

“By those [winds] sent forth in gusts”
Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) swears by the winds that are sent one after another. What’s interesting is that the root of the word ‘urf has many different meanings and derivatives. One of them is the mane of a horse. Allah ‘azzawajal is comparing winds to wild horses that have no saddles and can only be stopped if their ‘urf/mane is held. Similarly, the winds are so powerful in their natural state to the extent that they are held back, and controlled by Allah ‘azzawajal.

فَالْعَاصِفَاتِ عَصْفًا

“And by the winds that blow violently”
These – both winds and horses, destroy everything in their path. The word ‘asifaat is derived from the word ‘asf, which literally means winds that blow violently and vehemently. Tornados, hurricanes, natural disasters occur when Allah lets go of the ‘urf and lets them out in their natural state. So naturally, winds are destruction but they are held back by the mercy of Allah. The next time you feel the cool, merciful breeze, say Alhumdulillah (all praise and thanks are for Allah alone) from the bottom of your heart.

وَالنَّاشِرَاتِ نَشْرًا

“And by the winds that scatter clouds and rain”
Nashirat here refers to winds that cause clouds to disperse after the rain stops. SubhanAllah, look at the shift in dicussion and tone. The same winds that can be a means of such great destruction, are also a form of mercy. How refreshing is it to see the clouds lighten in color and weight after a storm.. And beyond this, winds are a delivery mechanism by which life is maintained. Think about how every single grain and leaf that is transported by the wind is precisely calculated by Allah subhanahu wata’ala. Think about how everything you and I consume is accounted for and provided for by Allah alone.

فَالْفَارِقَاتِ فَرْقًا

“And by the Verses (of the Quran) that separate the right from the wrong.”
The word Fariqat is an attribute of the angels being mentioned here. The angels are the ones who descend with Allah’s command to the Messengers (‘alayhis salaam) and this noble revelation separates between 1. Truth and falsehood 2. Guidance and misguidance 3. Lawful and forbidden. This revelation also contains exemption or absolvement for the creation of Allah and severe warning for them of Allah’s torment if they oppose His command.

فَالْمُلْقِيَاتِ ذِكْرًا

“And by the angels that bring the revelations to the Messengers”
If on the Day of Judgement, a person makes excuses and says no one told me about Allah. Allah can say, “Did you feel the wind?” Didn’t Allah give you a mind to think with? Anyone who claims to have intelligence, must have noticed the countless signs of Allah. Of course, there are many ahadith that highlight Allah’s mercy upon mankind on the Day of Judgement, but this should only make us more concerned about our actions and the attention we give to the reminders and ayaat around us. Why? Because Allah’s promise of reward, punishment, and pure justice are Haqq (true).

عُذْرًا أَوْ نُذْرًا

 “Excusing or warning”
This ayah tells us the advice we have received serves two purposes. In the case of the believers, it persuades them to seek forgiveness from Allah for their shortcomings, and make tawbah. In the case of the disbelievers, it contains a warning of Allah’s overwhelming punishment if they oppose His command. So know that the winds are enough of a message for you. Take the reminder.

إِنَّمَا تُوعَدُونَ لَوَاقِعٌ

“Indeed, what you are promised is to occur”
This means, what we have been promised concerning the establishment of the Hour (Judgement Day), the blowing of the horn, the resurrection of the bodies, the gathering of those of old and those of latter times on one common ground and the rewarding of every doer of a deed based upon his deed will come to pass. If he did good, then his reward will be good, and if he did evil, then his reward will be evil. All of this will occur, meaning it will come to pass and there is no avoiding it. Allah does not need to do anything but let go of the reigns/mane/’urf of the winds to destroy whatever He wills. Many nations before us have been destroyed this way. Whatever we have been promised by Allah all along is bound to occur, and the proof of that is wind.

Allah then describes some of the events that will occur on the Day of Judgement. The stars will be extinguished, which could mean that they will be completely destroyed, or they will exist, but their lights will be lost. In this way the entire world will be plunged in absolute darkness. The second event to occur is the splitting of the sky. The third event to occur is that the mountains will be blown away as dust. The fourth event is described in the following verse of the surah.


InshaAllah, take it upon yourself to go through the remaining explanation of this Surah, or any surah for that matter. I’ve noticed that learning deeply about the ayaat referring to the natural world around us makes you much more introspective and connected with Allah’s creation. You walk differently, you see things in a new light, you focus on matters far beyond those that occupy others’ thoughts. After I thoroughly learned the explanation of Surah an-Naba, it was as if I stepped into a different existence, completely transfixed on visions of the the Last Day. I walked slower, knowing that the earth beneath my feet would split on that Day. I would look up at the flawless clouds pass above me, realizing that doors would would cause the sky above me to crack open on that Day. I found myself feeling far more grateful for the cool breezes in Spring, reflecting on the utter destruction these same winds could cause if Allah had willed. Understanding tafsir really changes your perspective on things. Even if it’s just a few verses a week, make a habit of connecting with the words of Allah on a deeper level by means of the various (authentic) tafaseer available at our disposal. We have time read every subject imaginable, even if it’s a bunch of nonsense. So why not make time for the Book of Allah..

“You can’t see the wind, but you still know that it blows”

-Fi Amanillah-

“The eyes shed tears…”

Salamualaykum,

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) says something incredibly profound and beautiful in his book – Madaarij-us-Saalikeen. He says:

Sometimes, I have a certain need (that I wish to ask) Allâh, so I ask Him earnestly. Then, I find that the door of dialogue opens up for me, and I recognize Allâh more (I become more aware of Him), and feel humbled before Him, and feel a great sense of joy & happiness, due to which I prefer that the answer to my prayer be delayed, so that this joyous state may continue.

I read this quote a few months ago as I was reading through some notes on tazkiya, but at the time, I simply glanced over it without much reflection. Now that this [insert adjective] month has passed, words cannot describe the level to which I experienced the essence of what Imam Ibn al Qayyim has said above. SubhanAllah, we humans are so unthankful. We ask and we get, we ask and we get, but our ability to brush over the countless ni’am Allah sends upon us each and every second of our lives is something that even fascinates our Rabb. How many times does He, subhanahu wata’ala remind us of the favors we deny? How many times..

With Ammi away and much time to think, I spent my break talking to Allah for long periods of time. Yes, talking. I instilled in myself a habit of taking time out each day to sit in solitude and contemplate the fact that I was indeed, in front of Allah. That He, ‘azzawajal is watching me and listening to me. I told Him everything. My past mistakes, present difficulties, and apprehensions about my future. I cried almost as much as I did in Ramadan, but this time, it was more out of a feeling of impoverishment than anything else. I realized that the best way to get through a trial is to make mention of the bounties of Allah and to deem yourself unworthy of them. When you think of Allah’s blessings this way, dhikr becomes a much deeper process. It affects every part of you. When you say ‘Alhumdulillah,’ you actually begin to reflect on a specific blessing and the khair that came from that blessing over the course of your entire life. It really helps trivialize whatever you’re going through.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that the reason many people fall hard when they are faced with something difficult is because they rely on their own capacity to deal with that challenge. They don’t realize their weakness. When we struggle through the means we have while sincerely acting on the belief that Allah’s will and power are all-encompassing, it becomes easier to accept a presenting challenge. Allah ‘azzawajal says that the human being is created weak. Our insistence on trying to prove the little strength that we have is not going to help the situation; rather, it’s the yaqeen in our inability before Allah ‘azzawajal in combination with our efforts that can bring us closer to His infinite merc bi’ithnillah.

Patience itself is such an interesting phenomenon. It’s very easy to talk about but subhanAllah, there’s a reason Allah mentions it over 90 times in the Qur’an. There’s a reason Allah says He is with the sabireen. There’s a reason the Prophets are remembered for their patience. It’s not easy, but the reward for patience makes it all worth it. The humbling words of our Messenger (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) teach us exactly how we should respond when a calamity strikes. When his son Ibrahim passed away, he said, “The eyes shed tears and the heart is saddened, but we only do that which pleases our Lord. Indeed, Oh Ibrahim, we are grieved at your departure from us”. SubhanAllah, even as the mushrikeen were championing this great loss, he, salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam had patience from the start. And that’s the meaning of sabrun jameel – knowing from the get go that everything (seemingly) good or bad is from Allah and He is Qadir over everything. How did Ya’qub (‘alayhis salam) respond when he was first informed about his son? He didn’t complain and think of “What if..” or “If Only..” scenarios. Rather, he remained patient from the very beginning. And this is something few people can actualize, because only a handful of us work on developing our tawakkul in Allah when times are good.

Now that Ammi is back home and on her feet again, I’m being even more cautious by engaging in muhasbah and working to make sure my ‘ibadah only increases now that this trial has passed. Because really, this is the test. Everyone turns to Allah in their time of need. Everyone. But those who maintain their connection with their Rabb when all is well are the ones who have the ability to reach the ‘arsh of Allah by having their names mentioned in gatherings of Angels before Allah subhanahu wata’ala. This is why the youth who grew up in the worship of Allah have such a high status – SubhanAllah, they have so much at their disposal, so many fitan to indulge in, but they choose to make Allah their concern. May Allah make us from them, Ameen.

I encourage you to think deeply about the words of Imam ibn ul Qayyim. During times of difficulty, the sweetness of asking and imploring Allah to help you is so uplifting that you actually wish for the answer to your request to be delayed, just so your eyes don’t dry, and your heart remains spiritually alive. SubhanAllah, it’s during these times that we should be extremely elated with what Allah has decreed for us, knowing that if it wasn’t for this very “problem,” we would not have had the chance to get to know our Rabb, and speak to Him without a hint of worldly concern. It’s at this time, that Allah is descending His mercy upon those who act upon their knowledge of His Greatness, His Majesty, and His Love for His ‘ibaad. May Allah make us among those who turn to him in times of ease and hardship. Allahumma Ameen.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
“No one can be given a blessing better and greater than patience.”

-Fi Amanillah-

Alhumdulillah, by the mercy of Allah, and the du’as of my family, friends, and you all, my mother is finally home after 21 days in the hospital. May Allah keep all our loved ones healthy and increase them in iman and taqwa. Ameen.

Allahumma Innī As’aluka Ladhdhata an-Naẓari ilā Wajhika wash Shawqa ilā Liqā’ik.
O Allah, I ask You for the delight of gazing at Your Countenance and the eagerness of meeting You. Ameen

Delusions.

Salamualaykum,

‎How many are deluded by the blessings showered on them; how many are tested by the praise heaped on them, and how many are duped into a sense of security by Allah hiding their sins.
– ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radi Allahu anhu)

اللهم أجعلني خيرا مما يظنون ولا تواخذني بما يقولون واغفر لي مالا يعلمون

Allahummaj ‘alni khayra mimma yadhun-noon wa la tu ‘aakhidhni bima yaquloon waghfirli ma la ya’lamoon

O Allah, do not call me to account for what they say and forgive me for what they have no knowledge of and make me better than they imagine. [Bukhari]

Sleep on it.

-Fi Amanillah-

A Tranquil Escape

Salamualaykum,

While tests and trials are an unavoidable part of life, the way we choose to deal with them can either alleviate or further precipitate the situation. One thing that helps me tremendously is making really long sujood. A sajdah that lasts as long as possible with you focussed on removing every inkling of worldly concern from your heart and mind, is an escape that gives you clarity in thought and hope for what has yet to come.

I was feeling really down a few days ago, just from a whole bunch of things going on and more than anything, I was upset that I wasn’t being as patient as I should have been. So that night I decided to elongate my sujood for as long as I could without falling asleep. I began with the usual glorification of Allah and gradually started making du’a. Instead of focussing on the challenges I was dealing with, I made Allah my concern. I thought about His attributes, subhanu wata’ala. He is the One who sees me, knows me, created me, formed me, nurtured me, He knew me long before my parents knew me. He, ‘azzawajal guided me, granted me countless ni’am so that at that very moment, I could turn to Him for help. He tested me, and will test me for as long as I am alive and just the fact that I was able to lower my head in submission is huge blessing in itself. I thought about the ayah in Surah Qaf.. وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ. While Allah was/is closer to me than my jugular vein, at that exact second, He Subhanwata’ala was running the affairs of trillions of other people and creatures. He was feeding one person, curing another, afflicting someone, giving life and death to whomever He willed, forgiving someone, guiding someone. At that moment, Allah ‘azzawajal was running the affairs of the Jinn, of the Angels as they carried out commands, of those who were being punished in the grave and those who were looking through a window into Jannah, patiently awaiting the Day of Judgement. He was providing for our shuhadaa’ as their souls rested in the hearts of green birds and ate from the provisions of Jannah. He was running the celestial bodies as they went through their precise cycles. He was changing the day to night and the night to day. He had complete knowledge of the before and the after, the manifest and the unseen. No sleep or slumber could ever overcome Him, but he created sleep as a means of rest for His creation. I thought about the meanings of His Asmaa’ was Sifaat.. the meaning of al Hayy, al Qayyum, al Jabbar, al ‘Aziz, as-Sami’, al Baseer, al Ghafoor, al Hakeem, al ‘Aleem. The existence of everything from the depths of the oceans, to the peaks of mountains, to the vast arrays of the universe were all known to Him, jalla wa’ala. Not a single leaf fell, nor did a (seemingly) great calamity occur except by His knowledge and permission. Love, fear, hope, laughter, tears, time, and all the intangibles of dunya were all under His supreme control. He, subahanahu wata’ala was aware of how these intangibles would be distributed amongst his creations 50,000 years before his first creation of our father, Adam (‘alayhis salaam). Allah ‘azzawajal was caring for every single living creature, calculating the rizq of every living being. He determined which leaf was going to fall down onto which animal so it could be a source of provision for a fly. SubhanAllah ‘adada khalqihi.

I thought about the beautiful du’a a bedouin Sahabi made, not knowing the Prophet (‘alayhis salaam) was in his presence listening attentively. He (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) heard him say, “O the One who eyes cannot see in this world, minds cannot comprehend His Greatness, people cannot praise Him as He deserves to be praised, incidents do not change Him, He does fear the passing of time, He knows the exact weight of all the mountains in the world, He knows the exact volume of all the oceans in the world, He knows the exact number of drops that fall from the sky, He knows the number of leaves on all the trees in the world, He knows the number and detail of everything that the night hides in its darkness and the day illuminates with its light. One sky cannot shield another from Allāh. One ground cannot shield another from Allāh. A mountain in its deepest, darkest cave cannot hide anything from Allāh. The ocean with its depth cannot hide anything from Allāh.” Then he made du‘ā’ to Allāh and said, “O Allāh make the best part of my life the last part of my life. Make the best of my actions the last of my actions. Make the best of my days the day that I will meet You.”

I became so overwhelmed and engulfed in these thoughts but I continued to think. I thought about all the du’as Allah ‘azzawajal never left unanswered (the ones my memory could recall). I slowly went through every minor difficulty I had faced till now. SubhanAllah, I thought to myself.. if Allah ta’ala was so generous and merciful to me through all those difficulties, what made me so sure that I would have to face my current challenges all alone? Allah was there then and He is always with me now. How could I possibly worry about matters that my Most Merciful Lord has already ordained? After some more reflecting, I lifted my head and sighed a sigh of relief. :)

Next time you’re stressed, just make sujood. Let go of your obstacles and make du’a. Think about it – You are transferring a situation from your power and ability to the power and ability of Allah. You are moving obstacles from yourself to the One who has no obstacles.

وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ فِي نَفْسِكَ تَضَرُّعًا وَخِيفَةً وَدُونَ الْجَهْرِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالْآصَالِ وَلَا تَكُن مِّنَ الْغَافِلِينَ

And remember your Lord within yourself in humility and in fear without being apparent in speech – in the mornings and the evenings. And do not be among the heedless. [7:205]

“You don’t know what the future holds, but you know who holds it” 

-Fi Amanillah-

Sincerity, Knowledge, and Time

Salamualaykum,

Lately, I’ve been contemplating the relationship between sincerity, knowledge, and time. The most regular complaint I hear from people, and even myself is that we don’t have enough time to do this or that and as a result, we’re not accomplishing what we want to. But SubhanAllah, when we look at the lives of the Sahaba, scholars, and most of all, Rasulullah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), it’s hard to bypass their life experiences without reflecting on how they were able to do so much in the same amount of time we now struggle with each day.

Look at how the scholars who sought and wrote knowledge sincerely for Allah’s sake were granted blessings upon blessings and how their works continue to be authentic sources till today. Sahih al-Bukhari is a beautiful example. Countless books have been authored by people from all sorts of disciplines but what is their work compared to that of Imam Bukhari? What’s the difference? SubhanAllah, it is said that he would not write a single hadith unless he made wudhu and prayed two rak’aat and made istikhara. With such sincerity, ‘ibadah, zuhd, look at what he was able to accomplish and the ranks he attained with Allah ‘azzawajal. Allah blessed him, rahimahullah, in his time, his deeds, and Allah gave this book the status that it has as a result of his sincerity. It is the most authentic book after the Qur’an, and Muslims from every era have accepted it without fail.

I think we often have a rather romantic perception of what the lives of the scholars were like. It’s possible to imagine a candle-lit room with books upon books and a life of just scholarship, but when you look at their social and political context, you immediately notice that there were no shortage of obstacles in their path towards a life dedicated to Allah ‘azzawajal. They literally and figuratively battled hardships on every front. Despite the incarceration, expulsion, beating, resistance, having their books burned, etc., they continued to preoccupy themselves with preserving the deen, fighting in the path of Allah, and being real change agents beyond the bounds of their societies.

Just the other day, I was struggling to synthesize a few scholarly articles for a research paper and I thought to myself, how is it that I’ve spent an entire semester working on just one (major) paper!  Scholars like Imam Bukhari, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Taymiyyah (radhi’alllahu ‘anhum) were able to crank out at least fifteen to twenty pages a day, and their work was so original .. so profound. On top of that, a student spends months, if not years, working on a dissertation but at the end of the day, it’s nothing more than quotations and some food for thought and further research, is it not? It would have taken these scholars less than a day to come up with the type of assignments we stress out about in school.

When it comes down to it, I believe it has everything to do with one’s sincerity. Even among my friends, I see that some sisters are able to do so much and excel in everything they are doing while others have to exhaust themselves for something quite trivial. The thing about sincerity is that it’s something we can work towards but ultimately, it is from Allah ‘azzawajal. If we are determined to attain ikhlaas and ihsaan, bi’ithinillah Allah will assist us along this path and make us among the sincere ..  and this all goes back to getting to know Allah and developing greater concern for the aakhirah. If we can do that, the barakah in our time and efforts will come pouring in, inshaAllah. :)

قُلْ هَلْ نُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِالْأَخْسَرِينَ أَعْمَالًا

الَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعًا

“Say, [O Muhammad], “Shall we [believers] inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? “Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds.” {Al Kahf: 103-104}

Allahummaj ‘alna minal Muhsineen. Ameen.

-Fi Amanillah-

Illusions

Salamualaykum,

‎Social service, political activism, a respectable profession; even religious affiliation are not enough if you smother the simplest dignities, respect, and reverence due to others and yourself, from time to time. Making a name for yourself, acquiring reputable skills, attaining a formidable education, a gateway to wealth; are all illusions of being ahead of the pack if you neglect to cleanse your intentions, restrain your speech, guard your vision, and heighten your perception. Intuitive, discerning knowledge comes with critical reflection and refinement of behavior. – Imam Zaid Shakir (hafidhahullah)

-Fi Amanillah-

“Hidden Among the People of the Earth”

Salamualaykum,

‘(O people!) Be the springs of knowledge and the lamps of guidance! Stick to your homes and be like a light in the night, revivers of hearts, wearing worn-out clothes, you will then be known by the people of the heavens and be hidden among the people of the earth.’

– Ibn Mas’ood (radhiAllahu ‘anh)

I’m starting to notice that a lot of Muslim youth are getting into a kind of “quote culture” in that they like to post any statement that is remotely profound but it’s often just left at that. Meaning, we may post something and wait to get a certain number of likes or retweets and that’s it. There’s really no internal motivation to change based on the words of our pious predecessors. So I’m going to go against the current by posting quotes along with lessons, benefits and action items. :) Below are some for the beautiful quote above:

  • Share what you know. Don’t keep your knowledge to yourself. If you have learned something from a teacher, scholar, lecture, etc. be willing to share that with others to increase the benefit and ajr. If you think about it, water is such an essential yet underrated part of life. It’s kind of the same thing with knowledge. People are generally unaware of how much knowledge they lack, but desperately need.
  • Allah says in the Qur’an that He has beautified our hearts with Iman and that Iman is beautiful to us. Wherever you go, be the light of Iman and guidance by illuminating your gatherings with dhikr of Allah and His Messenger (salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Sometimes we meet people and think that reminding them is of no use just based on our limited judgement of them. Allah says, Inna fa’atidh dhikra (87:9), Remind because indeed the reminder benefits. Sometimes people don’t process what you say right away, but it sticks with them. Allah did not give you or I the license to judge what is in someone’s heart, Allah even sent Fir’own a reminder!
  • Take your portion of seclusion, as ‘Umar ibn al Khattab (radhiAllahu ‘anh) advised us. Don’t get too caught up with people and events that you forget to look inward. Spending periods of time alone helps you to reflect and weep over your sins, make lots of shukr and hamd, learn the etiquette’s of talking to Allah, and develop humility by realizing who you are and who Allah subhanahu wata’ala is.
  • A light in the night does not just shine on its own; rather, it radiates the surrounding environment and stars. Use your knowledge with wisdom to help others with all that you have been blessed with. A light also makes that which is obscure, clear. You are able to see things with the proper perspective.
  • Make mention of Allah and His Messenger (salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) wherever you go, as this will not only serve as a reminder to you but to others as well. People’s hearts are dead these days and it’s the responsibility of the true ‘abd of Allah to remember Allah in secret and in public. You never know who may benefit and change their ways by something you say or write.
  • Mend your clothes instead of throwing them out at the first sign of a tear. This was a sunnah of ar-Rasool salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam and many of the Sahaba as well. When you start to be less concerned with material things, that’s when you begin moving in the direction of true attachment to the akhirah. We know that the believers are those who, when they are seen, Allah is remembered. This means that everything about you should increase your yaqeen in the akhirah and the perils of the Last Day while serving as a reminder for others as well. When you take the time to mend something, it can break you a little and really make you realize who you are and where you are headed. Of course, we all know the story of ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab and his response to Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al Jarrah (radhiAllahu ‘anh) when he suggested the Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen should change his clothes before meeting with the Romans. SubhanAllah, he said that Allah gave honor to the Muslims through Islam and nothing else. Seeking honor (primarily) through anything else can be source of destruction, and we can see this happening all around us today.
  • SubhanAllah, “You will then be known by the people of the heavens and be hidden among the people of the earth.” What more could we ask for? :) If we remember Allah, Allah will mention us by name and remember us in a gathering that is far greater than any gathering we may be a part of.
-Fi Amanillah-