Light Up Your Life With Islam

Independence!

Bismillah.

“The independence day sales estimated to reach Rs. 40-50 billion this year”, reported a newspaper.

As I read the headline, I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed. Embarrassed to face the underprivileged class upon spending so excessively for the celebration of a single day, in the form of paper flags that are seen trampled on the roads on the morning of 15th, in the form of lights decking huge buildings when villages upon villages have no electricity throughout the year, in the form of fireworks and gunshots that disturb the peace of many ill, old and suffering, in the form of huge green and white cakes when thousands in this country sleep everyday without having eaten a single morsel, in the form of green and white paints and flower petals when so many walk around in rags.

What kind of love entails only words and one-time actions? Why do we always have to choose the more flashy and easy way out? Why do we polish and glamorize cracked walls, why not fix the cracks first? Why don’t we strive together to make every person of this land truly independent and free? Free from financial burdens, from hate, the shackles of undue cultural practices, from pleasing everyone all the time, from worshipping anyone and anything other than the one true God. Because indeed, this is what our forefathers dreamed of. A land where the one God, Allah could be worshipped freely, where His Laws could be implemented, where we won’t be compelled to follow human-made flawed systems.

And certainly, that one God commands of nothing but good. He tells us to take care of the needy and the poor. He tells us to have empathy, to put their worries above our own. And if we do follow His Laws and take care of the poor accordingly, then who will remain dependent? Who wouldn’t be free?

There’s still time, my dear fellow Pakistanis! Let’s start helping those around us, not only materially but also spiritually. Because they need it. We all need to be free by being slaves of Allah, as that is the ultimate freedom!

Let’s live, Pakistan ka matlab kia? La ilaaha illa Allah*

*La ilaaha illa Allah: there is no God worthy of worship except Allah.

 

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Paradise-Certified

Bismillah.

In today’s era of enlightenment and education, we recognize the importance of credentials. In various matters, people look up to the one who is certified in the relevant field and follow his example.

There lived some people back in the day who were given the certification of Paradise during their lifetime. Being Muslims, Paradise is the ultimate end that we strive for. It is an eternal place in which there is happiness, contentment, unimaginable luxuries and no death. A Paradise-certified person is definitely one we can look up to and learn from, so here goes something worth pondering over:

Sahih Bukhari, 3613:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:
The Prophet (ﷺ) noticed the absence of Thabit bin Qais. A man said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! I shall bring you his news.” So he went to him and saw him sitting in his house drooping his head (sadly). He asked Thabit, “What’s the matter?” Thabit replied, “An evil situation: A man used to raise his voice over the voice of the Prophet (ﷺ) and so all his good deeds have been annulled and he is from the people of Hell.” The man went back and told the Prophet (ﷺ) that Thabit had said so-and-so. (The sub-narrator, Musa bin Anas said, “The man went to Thabit again with glad tidings).” The Prophet (ﷺ) said to him, “Go and say to Thabit: ‘You are not from the people of Fire, but from the people of Paradise.”

Before we move on to the person who was given glad tidings of Paradise, observe the attitude of the teacher. How concerned he is about the absence of his students despite his very busy and occupied life.

Now look at the student. Just because he possessed a loud voice naturally and therefore spoke loudly than the Prophet ﷺ, he got so worried that he didn’t even go to the usual gathering. He was anxious because the following command had been issued:

“O you who have believed, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet or be loud to him in speech like the loudness of some of you to others, lest your deeds become worthless while you perceive not.” [49:2]

Clearly, this was about those who spoke loudly out of carelessness or disrespect. But the chosen ones took it to the next level and made sure they did not even come near those who fall in this category. Such was their caution, such were their concerns. This consideration, this staying far away from what could possibly be wrong, this respect was what earned them the high status that they got.

We instead of taking extra precautions, try to get as near the risky area as possible and try to live on the borderline, not knowing that those who live on the edge of the cliff easily fall off. If we want the validation of Paradise, then we really need to check our attitudes because nothing of value is achieved without struggle!

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Quest for the Best

Bismillah.

If you have two kids in front of you and you give them each the exact same candy, chances are they would immediately look at each other’s, if not snatch it, to check if their’s is better or not. This thirst of having the better item grows with the kids and translates into horrifying attitudes in later life.

Competition today has taken the form of a contagious disease in our society. And this is what Prophet Muhammad ﷺ predicted or feared about us years ago.

Sahih Bukhari, 3596:

Narrated `Uqba bin `Amr:
The Prophet (ﷺ) once came out and offered the funeral prayer for the martyrs of Uhud, and proceeded to the pulpit and said, “I shall be your predecessor and a witness on you, and I am really looking at my sacred Fount now, and no doubt, I have been given the keys of the treasures of the world. By Allah, I am not afraid that you will worship others along with Allah, but I am afraid that you will envy and fight one another for worldly fortunes.”

Competition itself isn’t a bad thing when done in healthy ways and things. But the one we witness today reeks of spite, malice and narcissism. It is doing nothing but destroying human relations and family structures. Everyone’s racing towards the ‘bigger and better’ and sometimes they don’t even know that their whole life just got wasted in this chase. We have to somehow undo this attitude to have our hands free for the real goals of this life.

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It does not matter if you live in an elite area and I live in one having no fancy facilities. It does not matter if your child studies in a private posh school and mine studies in a cheap public one. It does not matter if you wear designer clothes and I wear clothes off the street vendor. It does not matter if your husband gives you expensive jewellery as gifts and mine only brings me onions and potatoes to be cooked for dinner. It does not matter if your post on social media gets more likes than mine. Seriously, it does not! 

Somewhere between our competition of which school is more flashy for my kids, morals got lost. Respect for elders and teachers got lost. Education for the sake of making responsible citizens got lost. Somewhere between the desire of having clothes of the best brand, modesty and simplicity got lost. Somewhere between the competition of whose house is better, love between blood relations got lost. Empathy and sharing of joys and griefs got lost. What a sad state we are in!

So what then is healthy competition? Which competition is encouraged that would make this world a better place to live in?

Allah says in Al-Mutaffifin 26,

“…So for this let the competitors compete.”

Compete for higher ranks in Paradise because that will make you do more good deeds and make you a better person. Compete for that what is eternal, not what is temporary.

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Look at the example set for us by the people of the best times:

Whenever Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) prayed Fajr, he would then go out into the desert to collect something before returning to Madinah. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) would be surprised as to why he would leave, so he decided one day to follow him secretly. After Fajr that day, he saw Abu Bakr leaving Madinah and arriving at an old tent in the desert. Umar hid behind a huge rock to see what was about to happen. Abu Bakr spent very little time in the tent and then left. Umar then emerged from behind the rock and entered the tent to find a weak and blind woman with small children.

Umar asked her, “Who is this person who comes to you?” She said, “I don’t know him. He is just an ordinary Muslim man. He has been coming to us every morning since such-and-such a time.” Umar said, “So what does he do for you?” She replied, “He cleans the house, prepares the dough, milks our animals, and then leaves.” Umar then left, saying to himself, “You have left the Caliphs who will succeed you exhausted, O Abu Bakr! You have left the Caliphs who will succeed you exhausted!”
[Taken from Enjoy Your Life, 2nd edition, Pg. 443]

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What’s Missing?

Bismillah.

Do you know that every single thing around you, whether animate or inanimate, has the ability to feel? The difference is that humans can express it whereas the expressions of other than humans are not discernible to us. However, once a tree trunk showed its feelings and its love in front of everyone’s eyes. Yes, it was a miracle of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and yes, the tree trunk revealed its adoration for the one whom everything in nature and in tune with nature is in love with. <3

This is one of the cutest stories ever!

Sahih Bukhari, 3584:

Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah:
The Prophet (ﷺ) used to stand by a tree or a date-palm on Friday. Then an Ansari woman or man said. “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Shall we make a pulpit for you?” He replied, “If you wish.” So they made a pulpit for him and when it was Friday, he proceeded towards the pulpit (for delivering the sermon). The date-palm cried like a child! The Prophet (ﷺ) descended (the pulpit) and embraced it while it continued moaning like a child being quietened. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “It was crying for (missing) what it used to hear of religious knowledge given near to it.”

Imagine what kind of man was he for whom the date-palm cried like a child? Indeed, a mercy for all mankind! Imagine the beauty of his words, imagine the wonderful and honest message that he delivered for which even non-humans hankered after. What kind of religious knowledge did he bring which was worth crying for? Have you ever wondered?

And if you have the basic know-how of that knowledge, then have you ever considered sharing it ahead with those who don’t have it? Why should they remain in the dark? Let them know what Prophet Muhammad ﷺ talked about, let them know what Islam truly is!

What a beautiful message and what a beautiful man who brought it! Because if the message is good and the messenger delivers it to you in an ugly manner or if the messenger is very polite but the message is unpleasant, would you value it the way it should be valued? Of course not. So let’s hug those around us who are crying, depressed, struggling, stressed and tell them it’s because they have something missing in their life. Tell them about the knowledge and message that came to make lives beautiful and to dispel away grief. Because they don’t know what’s missing!

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A Miracle!

Bismillah.

Did you know that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had some miracles that the people witnessed? Here’s an interesting story for you:

Sahih Bukhari, 3576:

Narrated Salim bin Abi Aj-Jad:
Jabir bin `Abdullah said, “The people became very thirsty on the day of Al-Hudaibiya (Treaty). A small pot containing some water was in front of the Prophet (ﷺ) and when he had finished the ablution, the people rushed towards him. He asked, ‘What is wrong with you?’ They replied, ‘We have no water either for performing ablution or for drinking except what is present in front of you.’ So he placed his hand in that pot and the water started flowing among his fingers like springs. We all drank and performed ablution (from it).” I asked Jabir, “How many were you?” he replied, “Even if we had been one-hundred-thousand, it would have been sufficient for us, but we were fifteen-hundred.”

You would say, wow this is so amazing! The Companions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ saw this kind of thing with their own eyes, no wonder they believed in him. Well, you shouldn’t forget that there were many unfortunate ones even at that time who did not believe in the Prophet ﷺ. Allah guides whoever He wills, and we should always ask Him for His guidance and the ability to accept truth when we see it.

Because today we might not have the Prophet ﷺ amongst us with his miracles but we still have his words and we still have the biggest miracle that was revealed upon him. How much amazed are we by that? How much do we believe in it and how much do we accept it? That is the real question!

Sapling

There are many signs and miracles around us, if only we pay heed. 

As for the Companions being fortunate of being around the Prophet ﷺ and witnessing such miracles, know that the Prophet ﷺ valued you and loved you, O reader!

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) went to the (Baqi’) cemetery and said, “May you be secured from punishment, O dwellers of abode of the believers! We, if Allah wills, will follow you. I wish we see my brothers.” The Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah! Are not we your brothers?” He (ﷺ) said, “You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who have not come into the world yet.” They said; “O Messenger of Allah! How will you recognize those of your Ummah who are not born yet?” He (ﷺ) said, “Say, if a man has white-footed horses with white foreheads among horses which are pure black, will he not recognize his own horses?” They said; “Certainly, O Messenger of Allah!” He (ﷺ) said, “They (my followers) will come with bright faces and white limbs because of Wudu’; and I will arrive at the Haud (Al-Kauthar) ahead of them.” [Muslim]

May Allah make us true believers who follow in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and meet him happily on the Day of Judgement inshaAllah.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Glad tidings to the one who believed in me and saw me, and sevenfold glad tidings to the one who believed in me but did not see me.” [Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (1241)]

 

One Wrong Word…

Bismillah.

Many huge fights, arguments and heart-breaks in relationships are due to little things. Surprisingly, the weapon used to strike is very small and soft and yet it pierces like a dagger. Yes, it is the tongue that is used to utter something cutting and then comes the response and then it continues. Often these big fights having little foundations are the ones that ruin the peace of a household and sometimes even take it toward ultimate destruction.

One of the arguments that is common in many houses is about food. The food is not good, it has too much salt, it has no salt at all, the food is cold, it is late, you don’t even know how to cook etc. The opposing party having little patience as well launches a full fledged attack in defence. And fighting ensues.

Food, however, is just a basic example. We feel it’s an obligation upon us to comment if we see anything negative in our surroundings. Today, it is kind of an accepted fact that if you keep doing everything right, no one will appreciate you but one single mistake will open many mouths. This is negative reinforcement which leads to more negative behaviour. Unfortunately, this is not what Islam teaches us. Islam likes us to maintain a peaceful, positive and encouraging atmosphere in our homes. So that our homes become our safe haven instead of a battlefield.

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The question is if you see something negative (but not sinful), say, something not to your liking, what should you do?

Sahih Bukhari, 3563:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) never criticized any food (presented him), but he would eat it if he liked it; otherwise, he would leave it (without expressing his dislike).

Just don’t comment at that time. Control the desire to lash out. :)

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ did not pinpoint people publicly over their mistakes anyway. It makes one feel humiliated more than it reforms them.

There are other wiser and more polite ways of correcting mistakes than criticizing. Use your skills and discover those instead. Remember that positive reinforcement will take you a long way.

Q. Your spouse cooks your favourite dish for you but makes it too salty by accident. What do you do?

Options:
a) Criticize it harshly and push the plate away.
b) Tell them that the taste is ruined but eat it anyway.
c) Don’t say anything about the food but don’t eat either.
d) Tell them tactfully that you appreciate what they did for you however you were planning on ordering/cooking food for them tonight from their favourite place and go and bring food for them/cook for them.
e) Other…

 

The Beloved Man

Bismillah.

The best of people that ever lived on this planet were prophets. They were chosen people by Allah who were sincere, truthful and had exemplary characters. We are supposed to follow the way of the prophets and spread the message of peace and submission to one God that they brought.

The last and final prophet who was sent on this earth for the guidance of mankind was Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. He was given the religion and way of life that is perfect, complete and unchangeable till the end of times and so there’s no need of another prophet now. However, we the followers of that Prophet ﷺ are supposed to take his mission forward and spread that message of truth and guidance to all mankind.

Today there are more than 1.6 billion Muslims in the world who all revere and love the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to bits even though they never met or saw him. But everyone has this yearning of knowing what he looked like and of meeting him eventually (inshaAllah).

Fortunately, we find many narrations where the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ describe his appearance. Following are some excerpts from a few of them just to give you a flavour:

Prophet s.a.w

Sahih Bukhari, 3549:

…Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was the handsomest of all the people, and had the best appearance. He was neither very tall nor short.

Sahih Bukhari, 3548:

… (He ﷺ was) neither absolutely white nor deep brown. His hair was neither curly nor lank…

Sahih Bukhari, 3546:

…(When he was old) “He had a few white hairs between the lower lip and the chin.”

Sahih Bukhari, 3551:

…The Prophet ﷺ was of moderate height having broad shoulders (long) hair reaching his ear-lobes…

Sahih Bukhari, 3552:

Al-Bara’ was asked, “Was the face of the Prophet (as bright) as a sword?” He said, “No, but (as bright) as a moon.”

Sahih Bukhari, 3553:

Narrated Abu Juhaifa: … (After the prayer), the people got up and held the hands of the Prophet and passed them on their faces. I also took his hand and kept it on my face and noticed that it was colder than ice, and its smell was nicer than musk.

This was a glimpse of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Notice how people observed everything about him. We do not compare in any way to the Prophet of Allah ﷺ but if we are the carriers of the same message and are taking his mission forward and are Muslims, then people notice us too. They notice us very deeply and then they talk about it. Some people in their ignorance might consider our bad habits to be part of this religion. We Muslims represent Islam. We ought to be careful in how we look, dress and deal with others. We can’t have the “I don’t care” attitude. Because we should care. We want others to know how Islam shapes its followers beautifully in well-balanced individuals. We want them to come closer to this perfect way of life.

Let’s look good, talk good and smell good. :)

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