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Posts tagged ‘paradise’

Tales of the Courageous

Bimillah.

Every person in this world has the desire to live ‘happily ever after’. We keep searching for ways and means through which we can fulfil this dream of immortal peace and comfort. Some give their lives while searching for it. But alas, we do not know that no matter how much happiness we attain in this world, it’ll all be left behind when death, the unavoidable, overpowers us.

This world was not made for us to be ultimately happy in. It is temporary and full of strife. True and everlasting happiness is only to be found in Paradise. The place that no one is guaranteed to go to, no one has a surefire one-way ticket in hand. Everyone awaits to see the results of their attempt after the chance of attempt has been taken away from them.

But there were those in the past who were given the ‘ticket’ of Paradise during their lifetime. They were told that Paradise would be their ultimate abode. One wonders in amazement, “why were they so special?” “What did they do to deserve that?” And then, “if only I was given that ticket, I’d breathe in relief and spend the rest of my life in peace of mind and comfort”.

But surprisingly, they did not! They strove a lot more than you and me, before being given the glad tidings of Paradise and after being given them. They did not stop. And Allah knew that about them already. If we really want Paradise, then they are our role models, we have to follow in their footsteps.

One such person who was guaranteed Paradise was Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam.

Narrated Jabir:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Every prophet used to have a Hawari (i.e. helper), and my Hawari is Az-Zubair bin Al-`Awwam.” 
[Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 62, Hadith 68]

The Prophet (ﷺ) himself praised him and gave him a title of honour. But this was not merely a title of honour bestowed on him out of love rather a title that had history of bravery and sacrifice behind it. And this is how those people were who were given the glad tidings of Paradise. They had huge sacrifices, stories of great bravery, they stood up when no one else did. It wasn’t easy. It took courage and sincerity that we can only think of. Nothing good is ever achieved without a hefty price. They gave their blood, sweat and wealth to earn Allah’s pleasure and Allah rewarded them with His Mercy and Bounties and promised them Paradise.

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Why was he entitled such?

One of the great battles fought at the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) was the Battle of Confederates*. Many groups came together and surrounded the City of Medina, where the Muslims lived, from all sides. It was a tough time for Muslims. They were less than half of their enemy in number and their resources were quite meagre as compared to their opponents. At such a delicate moment, the allies of Muslims who were supposedly protecting them from one side, turned against them slyly. It was a time of unrest, exhaustion, bleak prospects apparently, and one demanding huge courage and sincerity.

At that time, the Prophet (ﷺ) called out for volunteers for a dangerous task.

Narrated Jabir:
On the day of Al-Ahzab (i.e. clans), Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, ‘Who will bring us the news of the people (i.e. the clans of Quraish infidels)?” Az-Zubair said, “I.” The Prophet (ﷺ) again said, “Who will bring us the news of the people?” AzZubair said, “I.” The Prophet (ﷺ) again said, “Who will bring us the news of the people?” Az-Zubair said, “I.” The Prophet (ﷺ) then said, “Every prophet has his Hawari (i.e. disciple, special helper); my helper is Az-Zubair.
[Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 64, Hadith 157]

At such an occasion, Az-Zubair rose, not once but thrice. His coming forward despite the risk of his life and honour was what earned him this title of honour. And indeed, he deserved it.

Today, we might not have to go to the battlefield or act as a reconnoitre at great risk. But we do have our own tough situations to deal with. Each one of us has their own test. We have one battle or the other raging in our hearts and in our lives, and defeating the enemy of our own self, our desires, our doubts, our thoughts, our laziness, defeating the enemy Shaytan might demand the greatest courage and sincerity of all. These are our battles and our sacrifices at these times is what would be counted. Our big or small efforts and struggles is what will earn us Paradise or make us lose it. Because indeed, Allah does not look at the result only rather He considers the efforts and sincerity.

May Allah give us the courage and opportunity to face our troubles and overcome them, and may He bless us with a sincerity that makes our efforts pure for His Pleasure alone. Ameen.

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*Read about the Battle of Confederates on Pg. 156http://www.kalamullah.com/Books/Ar-Raheeq%20Al-Makhtum.pdf

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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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Exposed!

Bismillah.

Have you ever wondered why Pepsi plays its ad on TV so many times a day? Who doesn’t know Pepsi exists? Today even if you go to far flung villages in Pakistan, you find the logo of Pepsi painted on the half broken mud and brick wall on the dirt-roadside. People who live in the most deplorable conditions imaginable and who can’t even spell their own name, know about Pepsi. It’s not just Pepsi, take anything. Take Lays or Ufone, for example. The rich, poor, educated, uneducated, elderly, kids, everyone knows about these products. What is the need then to tell us every 15 minutes in a cricket tournament on TV that this product is so cool?

Let me tell you why! Because if they stop advertising, in a few years no one would even recognize the name Pepsi or Lays or whatever. Such is the human brain. Constant exposure to things makes us familiar with them and we end up believing in those things. If you know for sure that something is a blatant lie and people keep telling you it is the truth, constantly and actively, you’d eventually start believing it is the truth. Just like, if you’re feeling well and healthy in the morning but everyone who you meet throughout the day tells you that you look pale, your eyes are yellow and you must be suffering from jaundice, by the end of the day you’d be taking a doctor’s appointment.

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This is considered a psychological phenomenon, the mere-exposure effect, a concept developed by Robert Zajonc and others. It states that people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. This phenomenon is most actively used in advertising. Which is why if you keep watching the ad of a specific shampoo, on going to the market, you’d end up buying that same shampoo for no particular reason.

This is also the reason why if today someone says “the religion of terrorism”, sadly and unfortunately, Islam comes to our minds. We have associated these concepts in our minds subconsciously due to over exposure to the media. And this is why, the concept of hereafter today seems so alien to most of the Muslims even. The materialism that has seeped in our very blood today is because of the crazy run-after-money-till-you-die ideology injected in us through our surroundings.

Allah is our Creator and He understands us best, which is why He tells us again and again to watch our company, to stay with good people, to be connected with the Quran constantly. Because reminders have a great influence on us humans. Our companions make us or break us. The things that we read or watch, shape our mind and personality.

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Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was the best teacher, mentor and life coach to have ever walked on the planet. He dealt with the people around him according to their psyche. He cashed small moments to teach big concepts to his students. His expert training of his companions is the reason why they turned out to be so remarkable. Here’s a great example of this:

We find in Sahih Bukhari, 3249:

Narrated Al-Bara bin Azib:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was given a silken garment, and its beauty and delicacy astonished the people. On that, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “No doubt, the handkerchiefs of Sa`d bin Mu`adh in Paradise are better than this.” 

Just when there was a danger of those people about to lose themselves in the materialistic gains, he brought them back with a bang! No lecture, no long speeches, no harsh words. Just a simple and clear statement having a multifaceted effect. It’s beautiful! Look at the wisdom!

He did not say, “hey, stay away from this, this might make you forget that this world is temporary, you’re getting too much attracted, you know” or “hell awaits those who get too involved in this world”. He did not say, “do good deeds and you might get better”.

He reminded them of the hereafter so they don’t lose their focus, he mentioned Paradise so they feel good about the blessings there, he mentioned their companion so they can relate to him, so they get ideas what do we have to do now. Humans have a competitive nature, they like to beat others. He gave them that spark indirectly, Sa’d has this, do more than him and you might get more.

This is what we need to learn. Exposing people to the right kind of knowledge, setting their focal point. Reiterating! Teaching and reminding but gently, wisely and simply. How beloved and great is my Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

P.S. If you feel curious as to who Sa’d RA was and what was so special that he did, search for his story, extract the gems, and learn by example. :)

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Let Dreams Come True!

Bismillah. 

Every single one of us who lives, dreams! Every person’s dream is unique to themsevles, yet every healthy dream has a happy ending. No one wants tragedies. We might dream of a beautiful house, car of the latest model, the newest iphone, pretty shoes, a trip around the world, a room full of makeup, to be a famous star, even simple things such as a cup of warm coffee in a cold night, a shoulder to lean on when we feel hurt, a surprise visit by a dear friend, the joy of seeing our kids succeed, the giddy feeling when someone hugs us suddenly, the elevated feeling on winning a competition, the peace that surrounds us when all the family is sitting together calmly and the list never ends. 

Hollywood cashes on this human weakness and makes us feel through its productions that “dreams come true”. Hardly any child is ignorant of the stories of princesses and the dreams that materialized for them eventually, stories that pass on from generation to generation. Some teach their kids to dream about other things and the kids even when they grow up into adults, still hold that childhood dream close to their heart. 

In every dream that each one of us has, the common factor is not just happiness but immortality. The “Happily Ever After”. However, we all live in a world of deception. This world does not have “ever afters”. The most happiest and richest guy dies too after completing his term on the planet. 

  
But wait, don’t let your dreams be shattered so soon. Dream on! But of the place where “happily ever afters” are the norm. Yes, dream of Paradise! Where you will never die, your loved ones will never die, where no one hates anyone, where love and joy bloom 24/7. The place where there will be palaces made of gold, silver and pearls. There will be gardens full of the most exotic fruits. Your favourite dish will come right in front of you right then and there. There will be greenery and beauty and sparkly streams flowing here and there. Where we will wear dresses of silks with the finest jewellery, and look so regal. Spouses there will be crazily in love and absurdly good to each other. It will be a place, free of exams and taunts and sad news. No jealousy or ill-will with anyone. We will recline comfortably on fluffly pillows and joke and laugh over delicious snacks. (InshaAllah). 

This is Paradise! Just thinking of it makes your mouth water and you wish fervently to have your name written in its inhabitants. But nothing of value was ever achieved without a hefty price. And so Paradise comes with its own set of requirements, the most basic of which is believing in the One true God, Allah and not associating partners with Him. 

However, there are many other factors as well, some of which make you more eligible for this heavenly land and others which make you ineligible. We will be considering only one of the factors right now that could prevent us from going into Paradise. You get rid of that obstacle and up your chances! :)

Before we go on, we must talk about the scary part. Ineligibility to go into Paradise means eligibility for the Great Fire, which will burn and torture and agonize beyond limits. It is either this end for us or that end, nothing in between. 

We find in Sahih Bukhari, 3241:

Narrated `Imran bin Husain:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I looked at Paradise and found poor people forming the majority of its inhabitants; and I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women.”

Women! In hellfire! Why? We find the explanation in another place. 

Sahih Bukhari, 29:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

The Prophet SAW said, “I was shown the Hell-fire and that majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful.” It was asked, “Do they disblieve in Allah?” (Or are they ungrateful to Allah?) He replied, “They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have been always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, ‘I have never received any good from you.”

Ingratitude! We women suffer from this. Ungratefulness to husbands and also on favours conferred upon us. We have a natural disposition to complain and to get overemotional on a slight affliction and thus declare in the depths of pity and misery that this “always” happens, “nothing” goes right “ever”. We tend to use absolutes which are lies in and of itself. Because that affliction just came, it does not wipe out all the good that we have in our lives. 

  
This ungrateful attitude not only makes our husbands suffer and feel sad but also plunges us in misery. And it makes Allah displeased as well. Why lose that beautiful Paradise over petty things? 

Together, we can change this attitude inshaAllah. Instead of acting as fuel to the fire when our friends share our problems with us, we will redirect their attention to the good in their lives. Try to stay away from trashy negative literature and soaps. Whatever we see, read or think, influences us. We can make a list each night before sleeping in our phones or notepads of the 3 things that were good in my life today. And 3 things that I’m grateful for to my husband. Thinking more of the good all day will also help us control our tongues when feeling sentimental. Eventually this will lead to us being grateful to our Creator. Not only will it increase our chances of going into Paradise but also make our own little home in this world heavenly and peaceful. <3

Allah says, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]”. (14:7)

And Allah’s promises are true! :)

P.S. This hadith acts as a warning and sincere advice to women to correct their ways when there is still time. At other places, men have been reprimanded too with regards to their behaviour. This is not discrimination as some label it to be. Remeber, Allah is just and in terms of good deeds and bad deeds, men and women are treated equally. 

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