Set a Goal first

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Good deeds

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The Most Comprehensive Gift

– Saba Khan

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A Muslim is the one who is satisfied and pleased with their Lord, Allahسبحانه و تعالى at all times and in all aspects of life. That’s what we say every morning and every evening.

رَضيـتُ بِاللهِ رَبَّـاً وَبِالإسْلامِ ديـناً وَبِمُحَـمَّدٍ نَبِيّـاً

“I am pleased with Allah سبحانه و تعالى as a Lord, and Islam as a religion and Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم as a Prophet.”

What does it mean when we say that we are ‘pleased’ with Allah سبحانه و تعالى ? It means we are satisfied and contented with whatever He has decreed for us. We are pleased with all His plans. It means we have faith in His infinite wisdom and we truly believe that He is the Most – Wise. It means we believe that both good and bad comes from Him alone.

Having this faith doesn’t mean we are going to live a merry life full of enjoyment and pleasures according to our whims and desires.  It doesn’t mean that we will only have prosperity and joys coming our way. It means that it will bring about different episodes of bliss and despair. It means it will bring about tests, trials, and hardships so that we know if we are truly faithful to ourselves and our Lord. It means that it is an opportunity to raise our ranks and position It means that it is an opportunity to attain paradise ultimately and for eternity. إن شاء الله‎

Allah سبحانه و تعالى, himself says, “Or you think that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty, ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who had faith with him said, ‘When will the Help of Allah come?’ Yes! Indeed Allah’s help is close!” [2:214]

Allah سبحانه و تعالى says that how is it possible to attain Jannah without having to strive for it. How is it possible that we say ‘we believe’ but we don’t expect hardships.

Al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Do not resent the calamities that come and the disasters that occur, for perhaps in something that you dislike will be your salvation, and perhaps in something that you prefer will be your doom.”

Therefore, a true believer knows that these hardships are rather a blessing in disguise because it is that beautiful way of strengthening our relationship with Allah سبحانه و تعالى and using it as a path to go on the straight path.

Allah سبحانه و تعالى says, in the Glorious Quran, “No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things.” [ 64 : 11]

But, how will a believer react and respond to such trials and hardships which Allah سبحانه و تعالى has decreed for him? Allah سبحانه و تعالى, Our Merciful Creator has also provided us with a magnificent present so that we may succeed the tests. The Most Benevolent has gifted His thankful slaves with the most comprehensive gift. It is a gift that is the best of all. It is a gift that envelops all the attributes of a true believer. It is a gift that is enjoyed only by those who truly Love Allah سبحانه و تعالى. It is a Gift from our Beloved Rabb to His beloved slaves.

It is the GIFT of SABR. It is the GIFT of PATIENCE.

وَمَا أُعْطِيَ أَحَدٌ عَطَاءً خَيْرًا وَأَوْسَعَ مِنْ الصَّبْرِ

Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Whoever would be patient, then Allah will make him patient. There is no gift that is better and more comprehensive than patience.” [ Sahih al -Bukhari ]

Yes. Sabr صبر is the combination of forbearance, endurance, steadfastness, perseverance, and restraint. SABR is the powerful armor for the believers in order to save themselves from depression, sorrow, grief, ingratitude, and Shirk. It is this gift that allows the believers to rise in their status and in their positions of faith. It is this gift that allows them to get closer to their Lord. It is this gift which disguises the hardships as blessings. It is this gift that pushes the believers to rush for repentance, to await the great rewards, to be thankful for all the blessings, and to do good and righteous deeds.

The greater the faith. The greater shall be the trial.

The greater the trial. The greater the gift should be used.

The greater the gift is used. The greater is the reward.

And indeed the reward of Patience is without measure!!

The believers are like diamonds.

Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم  said,

“Whoever Allah سبحانه و تعالى  wants good for him, he puts

them to test. He puts them through difficulties. Like a

diamond or some metal that has to be burnt and then that

which is bad from it is removed so that you have that

which is the pure diamond or the pure gold or whatever.

Put them to tests, trials and difficulties.” [ Tirmidhi]

Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم has provided us a message of relief for those who endure difficulties with patience. Showing displeasure and discontent with Allah سبحانه و تعالى’s decree is not the attitude of a believer or the proof of possessing a diamond faith.

Now, the question is what kind of tests and trials are the beloved slaves of Allah سبحانه و تعالى out into?

Allah سبحانه و تعالى says, in the Quran, “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,

Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.”

Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.”[ 2 : 155 ]

Subhaan Allah. A true believer is aware that whatever comes is from The Creator alone and truly belongs to Him alone.

When we face trials in fear…. Say الحَمْدُ ِلله

Whenever we face trials in hunger… Say الحَمْدُ ِلله

Whenever we face trials in loss of wealth… Say الحَمْدُ ِلله

Whenever we face trials in loss of lives and fruits… Say الحَمْدُ ِلله

In every situation, a believer says, الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ عَلَى كُلِّ حَالٍ 

All praise and thanks are only for Allah سبحانه و تعالى in all circumstances.
“Surely, Allah takes what is His, and what He gives is His, and to all things He has appointed a time… so have patience and be rewarded.” [ Sahih Al Bukhari ]

إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعون

Wealth, health, life, happiness, sorrow, anything, everything.

A true believer doesn’t complain to anyone except to Allah سبحانه و تعالى. A true believer is not ignorant and does that whine or wail when calamity strikes him. He doesn’t utter anything that displeases Allah سبحانه و تعالى.

إِنَّ الْعَيْنَ تَدْمَعُ، وَالْقَلْبَ يَحْزَنُ، وَلاَ نَقُولُ إِلاَّ مَا يَرْضَى رَبُّنا

Narrated Anas bin Malik: We went with Allah’s Messenger ﷺ to the blacksmith Abu Saif, and he was the husband of the wet-nurse of Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet). Allah’s Messenger ﷺ took Ibrahim and kissed him and smelled him and later we entered Abu Saif’s house and at that time Ibrahim was in his last breaths, and the eyes of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ started shedding tears. Abdur Rahman bin Auf said, “O Allah’s Apostle, even you are weeping!” He said, “O Ibn `Auf, this is mercy.” Then he wept more and said, “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim ! Indeed we are grieved by your separation.

Subhaan Allah. A believe doesn’t resort to cursing or blaming others. He doesn’t attribute calamities to evil omens. He doesn’t go out of control that could open the doors of Shirk. Rather, a believer is calm and composed. He is patient and resistant.

Some merciful words of Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم :

How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” [ Sahih Al Muslim]

“If Allah wills good for His slave, He hastens his punishment in this world, and if He wills bad for His slave, He withholds from him (the punishment for) his sin, until He requites him for it on the Day of Resurrection.” [ Al Tirmidhi ]

“Nothing befalls a believer, a (prick of a) thorn or more than that, but Allah will raise him one degree in status thereby, or erase a bad deed.”[Saheeayn]

All these sayings of Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم  are the guide in the darkness and in the wells of sorrow and grief. They enlighten our hearts with joys and optimism.

Whenever you face difficulties, remember everything mentioned above and know that we are only here to strive and struggle to achieve that which we are promised for, the rewards from Allah سبحانه و تعالى. And this life is temporary.

This “Patience” is the path to higher levels of righteousness and piety. It is the path to PEACE.

 “Peace be upon you for what you patiently endured. And excellent is the final home.” [ 13 : 24 ]

See you next time. Till then, stay happy, await the great rewards and use the precious gift at all times.

Traps Laid by Society

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By Azma Shaikh

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Surah al-Hujurat, 13)

There is no day or age when an individual’s traits and lifestyle is not compared to the norms and standards set by the society. Societal expectations are a commonplace in every community. A normal person, on a normal day plays many roles being a part of a society. A woman for example plays the role of a daughter, a sister, a mother, a student, a teacher, a neighbor, a worker and so on. The behavior of such a person, while playing each of these roles, gets influenced by the expectations of the society.

It goes without saying that the presence of social expectations does have its advantages. There are plenty of societies around the world that stand proof to this fact. The unwritten rules and regulations set by a society assists in its smooth functioning. It paves way for a harmonious and just livelihood. The importance of being a part of such an honourable society is stated by the following Qur’anic verse:

“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.” (Surah an-Nisa, 59)

On the downside, there are societies and cultures, influenced by non-Muslims and orientalists, that have taken a turn for the worse. These are communities of specific parts of the world whose practices, like those concerning women, deviate them from the ones taught by the Prophet (PBUH). These practices have become so common that they have now led to moulding certain societal expectations.

Here are three most common social expectations focused on young women:

1. Society: “Girls need not go for higher studies”

Contrary to stereotypical belief, Islam is responsible for taking women out of the folds of pitiless struggles that they suffered in ancient times. The first revealed verses of the Quran that speaks about the importance of education that stands true for both men and women.

“Read in the name of your Lord who created, created man from a clinging form. Read! Your Lord is the Most Generous, who taught by means of the pen; taught man what he did not know.” (Surah al-Alaq, 1-5)

The significance of education was not discriminated between women of different classes. The following hadith validates this:

Narrated by Abu Musa al-Ashari

The Prophet said, “He who has a slave-girl and teaches her good manners and improves her education and then manumits and marries her, will get a double reward; and any slave who observes Allah’s right and his master’s right will get a double reward.” (Bukhari, 733)

History gives us examples of a number of pious and well educated women who have served as paragons of their duties. They have performed wonderfully in their respective fields. One of the examples is the last wife of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) – Aisha (RA). She was a woman of great knowledge and wisdom. A scholar, she is noted to have narrated more than two thousand hadiths. She had a commendable memory and a sound judgement. Many men and women benefitted from her knowledge. Arwah bin Zubair is reported to have said:

“I did not find anyone more proficient [than Aisha (r.a.)] in the knowledge of the Holy Qur’an, the Commandments of Halal (lawful) and Haram (prohibited), Ilmul-Ansab and Arabic poetry. That is why, even senior companions of the Prophet used to consult Aisha (r.a.) in resolving intricate issued”. (Jala ul-Afham, 2:26)

In recent times education of girls has been discouraged stating excuses like “waste of time and money”, “should concentrate more on household work” and “no use”. The truth of the matter is education of women holds a high value as it equips her to raise generations. It is relevant in the present situation where individuals empowered with skills and know-how are required in various professions. For example, a female patient would feel more comfortable in being treated by a female doctor instead of a male. Education also plays a crucial role in wiping away ill practices in some societies like female infanticide and haram dowry.

2. Society: “Our daughter’s wedding should be more extravagant than the neighbour’s.”

We have arrived at an era where people compete with one another over expenditure for their family weddings. It is very surprising to know that wedding celebrations in certain countries lasts for more than few days and consists of at least five different wedding functions that they call ‘rituals’. Lavish ‘dowry’ is paid to the family of the bridegroom by the bride’s family. It has become quite a norm to have mixed gatherings for weddings.

The sole purpose of marriage, the completion and perfection of deen, is compromised in wedding events. The functions not just fail to gather blessings of Allah but also attract evil eyes.

Fathima (RA), Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) beloved daughter, who he mentions is the “Queen of all ladies in Jannah” was married off to Ali (RA) in a very simple wedding.

“And He it is who causes gardens to grow, [both] trellised and untrellised, and palm trees and crops of different [kinds of] food and olives and pomegranates, similar and dissimilar. Eat of [each of] its fruit when it yields and give its due [zakah] on the day of its harvest. And be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess.” (Surah Anam, 141)

The simplest weddings are the most blessed ones. Engagements are not acceptable. A verbal proposal and its reply would suffice. A family, especially that of the bride, should not spend more than they can afford. The feast or valima is the responsibility of the family of the bridegroom. The excess money kept aside for weddings can be given as charity and hence could acquire blessings.

3. Society: “Take your husband’s name after marriage”

A wife adopting her husband’s name as her surname is another habitual practice adopted from the west. During the Day of Judgement, everyone is going to be called by their father’s names. Muslim women of the Prophet’s time kept their father’s names even after marriage. It defines and maintains a woman’s identity and her lineage even after marriage. It also becomes convenient for when matters of inheritance are being handled.

“Call them by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the sight of Allah” (Surah Ahzaab, 5)

Let’s assume for instance that a wife who has taken the name of her husband gets divorced or her husband dies. When she remarries, she will again take a different name and so on. In spite of how impractical it sounds, it is vastly followed. Often times, women take pride in having their names changed. Since there are no ties of blood between a woman and her husband, taking her husband’s name would be un-Islamic.

Even though only three societal expectations have been listed above, there are many such expectations set by the society that has taken us away from those deemed blessed by Allah and his Messenger. We have to strive to educate the people around us and coming generations of the Ummah in a way that they return to the teachings of the Prophet.

May Allah give us the ability to differentiate the right from the wrong! Ameen!

Chaotic Expectations

By Maryam Nabaath

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As Sana walked down the road to the corner shop, she couldn’t help but feel self conscious and dubious about what passers by would be thinking of her right now. They would be judging her by her hijab, she kept on thinking. Wearing loose clothes and a big shawl that covered her hair, shoulders and the whole chest just wasn’t the norm now. Feeling low, she quickly bought what she came to buy and scurried home, to her cave of peace, or so she thought until she stepped inside. Her aunt had come for the weekend and as soon as she saw Sana, she started ranting about the report card she has just seen lying on the table. Scolding her about the ’C’ grade she got on one subject, judging her by her grades. A while later, her mother’s friend came in and when she saw Sana, started going on about how she wasn’t wearing any make-up and that she wouldn’t even get any friends by being that introverted and ‘religious’. Sighing inwardly, Sana hurried to go into her room, where finally she could rest for even a few seconds before the society norms would come crashing in.

The above situation is what’s happening around the world each and everyday. Every single day, many are being judged and scolded, judged by social norms and expectations. We, as Muslims, should learn how to deal with these challenges without straying away from the path of Quran and Sunnah. The question is, how can we stay strong when facing these social challenges? How can we keep our emotions in control?

Firstly, let us turn to our ultimate source of coping and solutions; the Noble Quran and Sunnah.

Many verses in the Quran reminds us that we are not alone and Allah is always, ALWAYS, with us. Whenever we feel too exhausted to cope with the pressures, just turn to Allah and pour out all your complaints and stories. HE is there to listen to.

And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” [40:60]

Trust me, you will feel so relieved after doing this. Keep your full trust in Allah and carry on with your life. Whenever you are judged, just keep in mind that the ONLY one you are trying to please is Allah and no one else.

Then take a look at our ultimate role model, our beloved prophet Muhammad’s life. How many people mocked and insulted him when he called people to Islam? How many pagans hurt him both verbally and physically? But even once, did he give up? NO, never even once! He knew that it was Allah that he should trust in and that he should only care about what Allah had ordered him to do. Subhanallah, he was faced with much, much more trails than us. Our trails are nothing compared to him. He PBUH was given the responsibility of calling the whole world to the truth. Can you even imagine how big the responsibility would be? Carrying that on his shoulders, he was faced with grievous situations. Let’s take into account when he first called people to Islam, his own family members, his uncles, rejected him and called on everyone not to listen to him. How betrayed he would have felt, I cannot even imagine. There are so many trials that he faced in his life, that I could go on and on talking about them. The point I want to emphasise here is, that he never gave up and never bent towards the society’s expectations, instead he held onto the truth till the last second of his life.

Let us be like our perfect role model in holding onto the truth and dealing with society’s never ending expectations. Let us strive to control our inner emotions and let it all out only to Allah. When our Imaan is strong enough, we can be sure that Allah will never let anything bad happen to us; even if it is something bad apparently, there is a hidden goodness behind it.

To end, let us end with this beautiful yet simple duaa that the prophet Muhammad PBUH used to make very often.

يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِى عَلَى دِينِكَ

“O Turner of the hearts, keep my heart firm on your religion”