Monthly Archives: June 2015

Sayings of Ibn al-mubaraq (rahimahullah)

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Ibn al-mubaraq, scholar of the east and scholar of the west.

‘He had gathered characteristics which were never before gathered in any scholar in his time in the entire world.'( Ibn Hibban, the Imam of Jarh and Ta’dil (critique of narrators) made the weighty statement, ‘)
Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyadh, his long-time friend and companion said, ‘By the Lord of this House, my eyes have never seen the likes of Ibn al-Mubarak. May Allah have mercy on him, none have come after him who are in any way like him.’

Wise statements by him:

‘How often does a small deed become big due to one’s intention, and how often does a big deed become small due one’s intention!’

~ ‘When one of you learns enough of the Qur’an in order to pray, then let him occupy himself in seeking knowledge for that is the tool through which the meaning of the Qur’an is known.’ ~ ‘If you people wish to backbite, then backbite your own parents so that your reward does not go out to a stranger, but rather to them!’

~ ‘How many people carry the Qur’an in their hearts but the Qur’an curses them from inside their hearts! If the bearer of Qur’an disobeys his Lord, the Qur’an calls him from inside his chest saying, ‘By Allah, you have not carried me (i.e. memorised me) for this! Will you not be shy from your Lord?’

~ ‘Repentance from backbiting is to seek Allah’s forgiveness for the one you have backbitten.’ Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah then said, ‘Rather you should seek his forgiveness for what you’ve said.’ Ibn al-Mubarak replied, ‘No, you should not harm him twice.’

~ ‘Those of you who have the most knowledge, should also be those who have the most fear (of Allah).’

~ ‘The inhabitants of this world have left the world without tasting the best thing in it.’ He was asked, ‘And what’s the best of this world?’ He said, ‘Knowing Allah `azza wa jall.’ ‘When a person realises the scope of his own self and capabilities, he becomes more lowly to himself than a dog.’
~ He was asked, ‘What’s the best that a man has been given?’ He said, ‘Abundant  intelligence.’ He was asked, ‘And if not?’ He said, ‘Then good character.’ It was said, ‘And if not?’ He said, ‘A close friend who he can seek advice from.’ It was said, ‘And if not?’ He said, ‘Long periods of silence.’ It was said, ‘And if not?’ He said, ‘Then a quick death!’

~ ‘If a person bears patience, then indeed how little is the patience he needs to bear. And if a person is regretful and anxious, then how little is the enjoyment he indulges in.’

~ ‘There are four principles that I have derived from four thousand narrations: Do not attach yourself to a woman, do not be disillusioned by wealth, do not let your stomach carry more than it can bear and only learn from knowledge that which will benefit you.’

~ ‘Nothing has proven too difficult for me much as finding a brother/companion for the Sake of Allah.’

~ A Jewish neighbour of Ibn al-Mubarak decided to sell his house. He was asked ‘How much?’ He said, ‘Two thousand.’ They said to him, ‘It’s not worth one thousand!’ He said, ‘You’re right. But I am taking one thousand for the house and one thousand for being the neighbour of Ibn al-Mubarak.’ This was reported back to Ibn al-Mubarak who began supplicating for the man and he gave the money to him saying, ‘Do not sell your house.’

~ Ibn al-Mubarak once went near a stream, he propped up his spear and tied his horse to it. Then he began to make wudhu (ablution) and pray. When he finished, he saw that his horse had began eating the crop. He said, ‘He has eaten of the impermissible, therefore it is not befitting to use him in battles!’ – He then left the horse for the farmer and bought a new horse for the rest of his journey.

~ ‘Prepare for death and what’s to come after death.’

~ ‘Mercy descends when the righteous are mentioned and remembered.’

~ ‘The Sultan of zuhd is greater than the Sultan of the people, because the Sultan of the people gathers them (and rules them) by the cane whereas the Sultan of zuhd flees from the people and they instead follow him.’

~ ‘There is nothing in this world for a person except one’s daily portion of food.’

~‘If a person’s goodness outweighs his errors, then his errors are not mentioned, and if his errors outweigh his goodness, then his goodness is not mentioned.’

~ A man once said to Ibn al-Mubarak: ‘Is there anyone who will advice us?’ He replied, ‘Rather, is there anyone who will accept the advice?’

~ ‘This world is a prison for the believer and the best of deeds in prison is to have patience and to overcome one’s anger. The believer has no country in this world, indeed his country lies in the Hereafter.’

~ A man said to him, ‘Advice me.’ So he said, ‘Abandon looking at things for long periods of time and you shall be granted Khushu’ (humbleness), abandon excessive speech and you shall be granted wisdom, abandon excessive food and you shall be guided to ‘Ibadah (worship), abandon looking towards the faults of others and you shall be guided to seeing your own faults and abandon delving into the issues that concern the Being of Allah `azza wa jall, and you shall be guided away from doubts and hypocrisy.’

~ Another man once said to him, ‘I see myself as being in a better state than someone who killed a person wrongfully.’ He said to him, ‘Indeed the security you feel for yourself (and have given yourself) is worse than a person who killed another wrongfully!’

~ ‘Indeed the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets, but if they fall into covetousness and greed, who shall be taken as leaders? The merchants and businessmen are the trustees of Allah, so if they are treacherous, who can be trusted? The warriors are the guests of Allah so if they become extreme (or take spoils without right), with whom can we defeat the enemies? The righteous and ascetic ones are the kings of the earth but if they become insincere (i.e. have riya’), who shall be followed? The governors/rulers are the shepherds (protectors) of the people, but if the shepherd becomes a wolf, who shall protect the flock?’

7 Tips For Preparing For Ramadan

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How are you preparing for Ramadan?

1. Make the intention to make this your best Ramadan ever

Most of us are familiar with this hadith:

“The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention.” [Bukhari]

However, sometimes it is very easy to overlook this simple yet profound act of making the intention. I mean, with all our heart. I really believe that the first step to having an amazing Ramadan is by taking a sincere decision to do our best in every single way.

This is also true for everything we do in life. We have to first decide and make the intention to do something. Once we make the intention, Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) will help guide our steps, In sha Allah.3

2.

When you set your Ramadan goals, you want to be as specific as you can get. For instance, instead of putting down on your list “get more organized”, you may want to say things like the following.

Read 5 pages of Qur’an after each Salah.
Prepare 15 freezable dishes to cut down cooking time.
Take a rejuvenating power nap in the afternoon to be alert during taraweeh.
You get the drill, right?

Now pause your reading, grab a large index card or piece of paper, and write down 5 specific goals to make this your best Ramadan ever.

One of my specific goals last year was to read the Qur’an along with its meaning.

Remember to choose goals that you were not able to accomplish last year. So, if you always manage to pray taraweeh every single night with no worries, then do not put that down on your list. Choose new things. Remember, we want to amp it up this year.

3. Block the time to achieve your set goals

Now that you have set your very specific goals, you need to make a daily schedule and make sure to block the time to achieve your goals. Remember, only the things that get scheduled are the things that get done. That is just how it works.

Therefore, simply recording your goals on a flash card or notebook will not enable you to get them done. You need to make the time for any activity in your schedule and actually write it down.

I encourage you to make a schedule of your entire day, with half-hour to one-hour blocks to do whatever you need to do on any given day. It may sound very rigid, but it really is not. On the contrary, scheduling your day will free up your time because when you get things done in a timely fashion, you will have more free time to rest and rejuvenate yourself.

4. Minimize distractions

Let’s face it, we live in a world of distractions. All our emails, texts, social-media notifications can distract us from what truly matters.

Now, I am not suggesting we give up all our gadgets. Not at all. But when we answer all the calls and notifications, in a way, we become slaves to our devices. On the other hand, if we choose to take charge, we decide not to let them distract us. When we put them on silent or airplane mode, we use our phones and all kinds of electronics to their intended maximum potential. As a result, they become great tools to assist us in our daily tasks and can help us maximize our productivity.

There are some great apps that can help us track our time, memorize the Qur’an, or give us a daily hadith to ponder over. These are all great tools. However, we need to learn to use technology to serve us, instead of us becoming servants to it.

5. Plan ahead to simplify your life

Whether it is about preparing your meals or gifts for Eid, planning ahead will save you much needed time.

Spend less time in the kitchen. From samosas to grape leaves, everyone wants to make something yummy for their families, which can be great! However, if you and your family are spending a huge amount of time at the supermarket or in the kitchen preparing a feast every single day, you are really missing out on the true meaning of Ramadan. So, a little simplicity can go a long way.
Make a menu for the entire month. Make sure to keep it healthy and simple. If you know you will have guests on certain nights, you can make those Iftars a little more elaborate if you choose to. Otherwise, think of easy-to-make soups, salads, and plenty of hydrating foods to break your fast.
Cook ahead. It really does not take much for one to feel satisfied. Think of meals that taste great the next day so that way, you can cook enough for two days, hence saving your time and energy.
Prepare by freezing. Many casseroles, pasta dishes, and other meals freeze wonderfully. This can save precious time that should be spent in worship rather than cooking.
The key is to remind yourself of the true meaning of Ramadan every single day to help you prioritize your activities.

As for getting ready for Eid, something that works really well for my family is to get ready before Ramadan. Yes, do all your Eid shopping before the moon is sighted.

Why spend any precious second shopping at the mall or browsing for hours online? Get all the gifts for your loved ones ahead of time, preferably wrapping them and hiding them. Now, if you are buying something really big and hard to hide, then you just have to be creative! Shopping ahead also includes those special Eid clothes. Make sure you get them ahead of time as well. Just make a list of everything and get it done.

Trust me, it is possible to be all ready before the month begins, if you are strategic about it.

6. Dedicate yourself to service

This one is huge! It is all about using your talents, skills, and resources to make a difference in the lives of others, which can be accomplished in many ways.

You can bake some goodies and deliver them to your neighbors with a kind and caring note. Action is the best form of da’wah to show how beautiful Islam is. You can visit the sick and elderly in the hospitals and nursing homes. You can cook some food for your local masjid for people to break their fast with.

The options are so abundant, all you have to do is be willing to make a difference and take action.

7. Make the Qur’an a top priority

I saved the best for the last! Having touched upon the idea of prioritizing our time in step 5, it is very important for us to keep the focus of the month of Ramadan on the Qur’an and remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us very clearly:

“The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 185]

We need to block the time to recite and study the Qur’an. We need to ponder over its meaning. This is the month in which it was revealed. So, we really have to get serious about learning about the greatest miracle of our beautiful religion.
I wish you and your families an amazingly productive and meaningful Ramadan. In sha Allah, these tips will help you prepare to make this Ramadan your most productive one yet.

This Ramadhaan…… I will guard my tongue

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“Man does not utter a single word except that there is an observer nearby, ready (to record).” [50:18]

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said: “Fasting is not [abstaining] from eating and drinking only, but also from vain speech and foul language. If one of you is being cursed or annoyed, he should say: “I am fasting, I am fasting.” [Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban, and al-Hakim; Sahih].

Abu Hurairah also reported that the Prophet (S) said: “Allah does not need the fast of one who does not abandon false speech or acting according to his false speech [Bukhari and others]]

He also reported the Prophet (S) as saying: “Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allah Mighty and Majestic has no need [i.e. will not accept] that he should leave his food and drink”.[Bukhari]

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet said: “Perhaps a fasting person will get nothing from his fast save hunger, and perhaps the one who stands to pray at night will get nothing from his standing except sleeplessness.” [an-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah and al-Hakim / Sahih al-Jami`]. In another Narration “It may be that a fasting person attains nothing but hunger and thirst from his fasting”. [Ibn Majah, Darimi, Ahmad and al-Baihaqee; Sahih]

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So this Ramadan, I will guard my tongue:

Before I speak, I’ll ask myself: Does my speaking right now add anything to the silence? If not, then I’ll learn to enjoy that silence. There is something beautiful about the clam and quiet, something beautiful about sitting back to reflect without always filling the space with words.

Before I speak, I’ll ask myself if my words are going to hurt anyone. We joke, sometimes, without paying attention to hurting people; and we joke, sometimes, actually trying to get under people’s skins, actually intending to mock or ridicule. Laughter with friends and family is important, but it doesn’t have to be at anyone’s expense.

Before I speak, I’ll ask myself if I’m about to say something haram. Am I being truthful, or exaggerating to induce a reaction? Am I lying because I think it will save me from getting into trouble? Would my choice of words displease Allah? Will they offend anyone? Am I mentioning people in ways they wouldn’t like to be mentioned?

For years, I’ve been trying to make sure I don’t backbite or gossip, and I try harder every Ramadan. I’ve gotten better over time, alhamdulillah… I feel like each time I try, I get a little bit better. But I’m not there yet. I know I can be kinder with my words, and more careful with my story-telling. So this Ramadan, I’ll try even harder.

Before I speak, I want to ask myself: Which angel will be writing down these words? The angel on the right, or the angel on the left? Human speech – when not in excess, when guarded with iman and taqwah – can be a beautiful thing; it’s a gift from Allah. I want to utilize it as such. I want my words to mean something to the people who hear them. I want my words to add value to the silence. I want Allah to be pleased with me when I speak.

So this Ramadan, I will do everything I can to guard my tongue.

Taken from http://www.igotitcovered.org

This ramadhaan…I will guard my eyes and ears

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And do not follow what you have no knowledge of. Certainly: hearing, sight and heart – you will be questioned about all of these.” [17:36]

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There are people whose stomachs fast from food and drink, but their eyes graze freely through a field of forbidden sights. Their ears soak in the sounds of music and other forbidden speech. These people have never tasted the true essence of fasting…

They stand to pray, and the lyrics to a song run through their head. They move their lips to praise Allah, but in every rak’ah, they are replaying a different scene from a television drama, immoral scenes and all. They search for khushoo’ in worship, but how can they achieve it?

O Servant of Allah… your eyes and your ears are windows to your heart, openings to your soul. O Servant of Allah, let your eyes and your ears fast from the unlawful things in the same way you abstain from food and drink…

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And there is the fasting of the eye… For the eye to fast is for you to avoid looking at anything Allah has forbidden; it’s to lower your gaze and shield your sight from indecency:

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their private parts. That is purer for them – certainly, Allah is aware of all they do. * And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts, and to not display their charms beyond what may necessarily appear; so let them drape their head-coverings over their bosoms…” [24:30-31]

If you don’t lower your gaze, you’ll find your heart scattered in every direction, chasing after this temptation and that. Your soul will feel tormented at the loss of things it saw but could not have. Because of the sins of your eye, you’ll feel constantly distressed and anxious. You’ll lose out on the pleasure and sweetness of worship. How can you enjoy your worship and feel a conviction of faith if you don’t keep your eyes in check? Remember that to lower your gaze is to obey the command of Allah ta’ala… and this, in itself, is enough of a blessing and honor for you, in this world and next.

And if looking at the haram will cause you turmoil, then lowering your gaze will put your heart at ease. You’ll be able to realize your full potential; you’ll find greater happiness and contentment. As you avoid sinning, Allah will save you from trials and calamities… He’ll open up the doors of knowledge and understanding for you; He’ll bless you with success and wisdom.

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And likewise, there’s the fasting of the ear… The ear is responsible in front of Allah for what it hears. For your ear to fast is for you to avoid listening to obscenities, music and other types of evil speech. You should avoid listening to things which will anger Allah, both in and out of Ramadan. The ears of those who fast are tuned in to hear what is beautiful.

Use your ears to take in the beautiful sounds of this world – the whisper of the wind in the trees, the pitter-patter of the falling rain. Listen to the sound of birds and their after-Fajr chatter, or the chirping of the crickets in the otherwise quiet of the night.

Listen – closely, carefully – to the recitation and words and message of the Qur’an, and to the reminders that come to you in the form of speech. Don’t be like those people who misuse the faculties Allah has given them, “Or do you think that most of them can hear or understand? They are only like cattle – no, they’re even farther off from the Path.” [25:44]

The power of the ears lies in remembering beneficial knowledge and sound advice. Listen to the Qur’an; more than anything, listening to Allah’s words will plant the seeds of faith and guidance and light in your heart. Listen – with your ears and with your heart – to be filled with wisdom and tranquility and contentment. The Qur’an is your protection from useless speech and sinful thoughts.

Just like listening to evil leaves traces of evil in your heart, listening to the truth will keep your heart steadfast on the path of truth. Praise Allah and thank Him for the blessing of hearing by using it to gain His pleasure. “Certainly, the believers have succeeded: * Those who are humbly submissive during their prayer * And those who turn away from vain and evil speech…”[23:1-3] ~                                                         * ~ * ~ * ~

O Servant of Allah… have you ever considered that the blind man never looks at anything forbidden, and the deaf never listen to anything that would anger Allah? And here you are – blessed with perfect sight and hearing. Be thankful for these blessings. Enjoy what Allah has give you, but enjoy it in the halal.

O Servant of Allah… Ramadan has come to purify you. Fast with your eyes and your ears, and guard these windows of your heart and soul.

This ramadhaan….I will reflect on Allahs creation

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When two of the sahabah went to Aisha (radiya Allahu anha), asking, “Tell us about the most unusual thing you witnessed from the Messenger of Allah,” she cried and said, All his matters were amazing.

One night, he came close to me until his skin touched my skin and he said, “Let me worship my Lord.” I said, “Wallahi, I love your being close to me, and I also love that you worship your Lord.” So he made wudu’, but didn’t use too much water. Then he stood up in prayer and cried until his beard became wet. Then he prostrated and cried until he made the ground wet. Then he then laid down on his side and cried.

When Bilal came to tell the Prophet it was time for Fajr, he said, “O Messenger of Allah! What makes you cry, when Allah has forgiven your past and future sins?” He said, “O Bilal, what are you saying! What would prevent me from crying when on this night, this ayah was revealed to me:

إنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّأُولِي الْأَلْبَاب
ِ {Certainly, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are, indeed, signs for men of understanding.} [3:190]
“Woe to the one who recites it but does not contemplate it.”

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{Certainly, in the creation of the heavens and the Earth} [3:190] – Referring to the sky in its height and spaciousness, and the earth in its expanse and density, and the tremendous, visible signs they both contain: rotating planets; seas and mountains and deserts; trees and plants and fruits and animals and minerals; and a world full of all sorts colors and scents and tastes. {And in the alternation of night and day} 

Think about how one follows and takes from the length of the other. At times, you’ll find either the night or the day becoming longer than the other; at times one will be shorter; and other times, you’ll find that they’re both the same length.

And this same pattern of changing and altering is repeated again and again over the years, and all this occurs by the decision of the Almighty, the Most Wise. Which is why, at the end of this ayah, Allah says that in these signs, {there are indeed signs for men of understanding} – Referring to the intelligent and sound minds that contemplate the true reality of things, unlike the mentally deaf and spiritually mute, who don’t contemplate and cannot comprehend. Allah describes these righteous people

* {Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides} [3:191] –
These people remember Allah in all situations, in their heart and in their speech and actions, {and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the Earth}, – Contemplating the signs in the sky and the earth that testify to the Might, Ability, Knowledge, Wisdom, Will and Mercy of the Creator. And the ayah continues, implying that these people say:

{“Our Lord! You have not created this without purpose”}
You did not create all this in jest and play. Instead, O Allah, You created it in truth, so that You would pay back those who do evil for what they’ve done, and reward those who do good with something better. These faithful believers praise Allah and deny that He does anything in jest and without purpose, saying,

{“Glory and praise to You,”} –
How far removed and above these things you are, our Lord. You would never create anything without purpose,

{“Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire.”} – Meaning, “O You Who created the creation in truth and justice, O You Who is far from any shortcomings, far from doing things without purpose or in jest… save us from the torment of the Fire with Your Power and Strength. Direct us to perform deeds that earn us your pleasure. Guide us to doing good, righteous work so that You’ll enter us into Gardens of Delight, and save us from a painful torment.” They go on with their du’aa and supplication, saying,

{“Our Lord! Certainly, those You admit to the Fire, certainly, You’ve have disgraced him} [3:192] – By humiliating and disgracing him before all people on the Day of Gathering, {“and never will the wrongdoers find any helpers.”} – On the Day of Judgment, who would save them from You? There’s no escaping whatever fate You decide for them.

{“Our Lord! Certainly, we heard the call of one calling to faith,”} [3:193] – A caller who calls to faith, referring to the Messenger of Allah; this caller said, {‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed} – So they heard the call, and they accepted his call and followed him.

{Our Lord! Forgive our sins”} – Forgive our sins on account of our faith and obeying Your Prophet, forgive and cover them {“and expiate our evil deeds”} – Forgive these things in private,

{“And make us die along with al-Abrar.”} – Join us with the righteous people. And still, their du’aa continues..

{“Our Lord! Grant us what You promised unto us through Your Messengers”} [3:194] – Meaning, give us what You promised us through the words of Your Messengers, in terms of victory and success in this world, and Your Pleasure and Paradise in the next,

{“and don’t disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection”} – Don’t expose us before all creation, {“for You never break Your Promise.”} – Certainly, the promise You conveyed to Your Messengers, which includes us being resurrected before You, will surely come to pass.

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It was the Prophet’s habit, salla Allahu alayhi wasallam, to recite the last few ayahs at the end of Aal ‘Imran when he woke up at night for voluntary prayer, and it was these ayahs that – when they first came down, caused him to weep until his beard, and the earth where he made sujood, become wet. [The above was taken — with some alternation — from the Abridged Tafsir of Ibn Kathir.] 

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Action points:

– Read the last few ayahs of Surat Aal ‘Imran, ayahs 193-200, in their original Arabic, contemplating on what Allah is saying in them. Read a tafsir alongside the ayahs, for maximum benefit. Better yet, memorize these ayahs, and recite them when you wake up at night for prayer.

-Know that some of the righteous people of the past considered it better to spend some time reflecting on Allah’s creation than to pray qiyaam all night. This is because it’s possible to go through the motions of prayer mechanically; but when you sit down to contemplate, you immediately engage your heart and mind in reflecting on Allah’s signs.

– Reflect on your own creation. Realize that Allah gave us signs to reflect on, both in His Book, and in the world all around us, and even within ourselves. Yes. Allah made countless signs inside us, in the creation of humans: in the chambers of our beating hearts; in the inner cochlea of our ears. In our senses and our ability to experience the world around us; in our unique ability to form words and produce beautiful, eloquent speech. Our skin and our flesh and our bones, our movements and our features, our personalities and characters and abilities, all coming together… “And We have certainly created man in the best form and stature” [95:4]

– Spend time in nature. Don’t neglect your work or duties or worship, but take time to disconnect from media and its glaring screens, from the constant pull towards “entertainment.” Go outside for a walk. Leave your phone at home. Sit under the shade of a tree and recite Qur’an. Go out at night this Ramadan to reflect on the stages of the moon and reflect over its phases and the passage of time. Reflect on the sun – that star, that burning ball of fire – which Allah made a means for life on earth. Trees that grow from minute seeds to become many times their size, branches growing in all directions, twisting and turning to reach this sun. Birds and animals with species to amaze. A sky lit up and painted daily with so many breathtaking strokes of color. Marvel at Allah’s creation and power and strength.

Soak in the beauty of a world Allah created, all the while hoping and praying for what’s better and more-lasting in the Hereafter. Flawless. Beautiful. Allah’s creation, ‘azza wa jall. Fatabaaraka Allahu ahsanul-Khaaliqeen, “Glory be to Allah, the Best of Creators” [23:14].

Taken from http://www.igotitcovered.org

This ramadhaan….i will pour my heart out in dua

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Sheikh Muhammad Hassan tells the following story: A man from the people of Yemen was sitting in Allah’s House in Mekkah. I was on my way to the Ka’bah itself, and after taking a few steps forward, a man to my right caught my eye. He was lifting his arms upwards, visibly, so that you would have clearly seen his underarms if his clothes were not there to cover him.

He was raising his hands, and praising Allah, and supplicating to His Lord, subhanahu wa ta’ala, in a manner full of humility and destitution, all the while crying.

So I looked at him and trembled, and my heart nearly broke. I went back quietly, so as not to interrupt his asking, or disturb his du’aa. I stood nearby, to his right and one step behind him. I prayed two rak’ahs there, and then sat to watch him as I wept for his situation with His Lord, subhanhu wa ta’ala.

The man kept his hands raised for a very long time. After that, I saw a kind man, from among the locals of the country, stopping exactly the way I had. He took a few steps forward, and then this man’s humility caught his attention, so he came back. He looked at him, and said the salam, but the man was busy and didn’t return the greeting. He simply sat there, confiding in His Lord, subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Then this kind local stuck his hand into his pocket, and took out a large sum of money, though I don’t know the amount. He dropped the money into this man’s lap, and then left, but the man didn’t look down at the money that was now in his possession, and he continued to make du’aa to Allah tabaraka wa ta’ala.

After a while… and I couldn’t tell if he’d even noticed the money or not… after a while, he brought his hands down, and hung his head low, and finally noticed the money in his lap. So he smiled, and then cried, and raised his hands again, and continued to implore and humble himself before Allah. 

When he finished his du’aa, I went to him and said salam to him, and kissed his forehead. And I said to him, “Forgive me. I ask you by Allah, please tell me… what is it? What where you saying? And what were you rewarded with? Please forgive me… I just want to learn. Please teach me.” He smiled and said, “What’s it to you?” And I said again, “I’m sorry… please tell me. I ask you by Allah to tell me,” and I cried.

His heart softened towards me, and he said, “Wallahi, my son… wallahi, I came here, and there is no one who knows the anxiety I was in except for Him… and no one who knows the worries filling my heart except for Him. Wallahi, I didn’t ask any of His creation, at all. Wallahi, I didn’t ask any but Him, ‘azza wa jall. I came to His House, and I said to Him, “I’m here at your House, asking You. And I haven’t asked a single of your creation… will you abandon me? Will you leave me helpless?” “Wallahi, my son,” he continued telling me, “Wallahi, my son, He gave me three times what I asked for!” Not twice, but three times what he asked for! And Allah knows what that amount was.

My dear brothers and sisters… whoever relies on Allah, then Allah is enough for him. And whoever holds firmly to Allah, then Allah will save him. And whoever submits fully to Allah, then Allah will guide him.

As Allah ta’ala says in a hadith qudsi, “…O My slaves, all of you are hungry except those whom I feed, so ask me for food and I will feed you. O My slaves, all of you are naked except those whom I clothe, so ask Me for clothing and I will clothe you…” [Muslim] So ask Him to clothe and to feed you through du’aa and humility, and by taking whatever means you can.

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When you call on Allah, how do you call on Him? When you ask Him, how do you ask? Do you make du’aa with humbleness and humility? Do you converse with your Lord and Creator? Do you beg and plead your case to Him, as one in desperate need? Do you tell Him that you have no one but Him? That you’ve turned to no one but Him? That you rely on none but Him?

The Messenger salla Allahu alayhi wasallam teaches us: “Allah is Most Generous, and He dislikes to turn away the hands of His slave emptily when he raises them to Him” [Sahih al-Tirmidhi].

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Ramadan is the month of fasting. It is the month of the Qur’an, and the month of giving, and the month of du’aa. For an unforgettable experience this Ramadan, transform your relationship with du’aa: – When you ask Allah, don’t just ask Him… pour your heart out while asking Him. Plead and beg and implore your Lord.

Du’aa is not a formality, but a moment in which you pour out your emotions, your feelings, your conflicts and your weaknesses to Him, subhanahu wa ta’ala. He already knows your situation, and everything inside you, but Allah loves that we turn to Him in humility and that we make our case before Him. It is for this reason that the Messenger salla Allahu alayhi wasallam taught us, “Du’aa is worship” [Sahih at-Tirmidhi], because humility and asking are the essence of our servitude to Allah.

– Ask Allah in the way and manner He likes to be asked. Learn more about the times and etiquettes of du’aa:

1. Delve into the topic with Sheikh Yasir Qadhi’s book and/or lecture series on the topic, Du’aa: Weapon of the Believer. You can read the book online, purchase it (highly recommend adding it to your library), and find the audio series here.

2. Study the beginning of Surat Maryam. Allah teaches us about the beauty of du’aa through the plea of His slave and Prophet Zakariyya, alayhi assalam.

– Sit down with pen and paper and create your du’aa list. If you’ve ever done this before, then you know how important it is. If it’s your first time, then don’t delay it. Sit down with pen and paper to write down the things that really matter to you, the things you want to ask Allah for. Ask Allah freely in Ramadan, for anything and everything… but also make a list of 5-6 things that you will ask for consistently, every time you get a chance to in Ramadan. Then repeat your du’aa for these things in sujood, at iftaar time, throughout your day, and in your night prayer.

Ask Allah for the good of this world, and for the Hereafter. Ask that He forgives you, and saves you from the Hell-fire, and enters you into the highest levels of jannah. Ask Allah for yourself, and for your brothers and sisters. The Messenger salla Allahu alayhi wasallam teaches us, “There is no Muslim who prays for his brother in his absence, except that the angel says: And you will have something similar” [Muslim].

Allah loves that we make du’aa to Him… so earn His love by turning to Him and asking this Ramadan.

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“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be guided.” [2:186]

Taken from http://www.igotitcovered.org

This Ramadan… I will fall in love with qiyam♡♥

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This Ramadan… I will fall in love with qiyam♡♥

“Whoever stands in night prayer throughout Ramadan, with faith and expecting Allah’s reward, his previous sins will be forgiven…” [Sahih an-Nisa’i]

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Maybe you’re a homeschooling mother of four. Between the kid’s studies and the chores, between running errands and the distraction of phone calls, the concept of “alone time” is all but obsolete.

Or maybe you’re a student, young and mostly carefree, but you’re trying to find your way through life. You’ve managed to make friends at school; you fit in now with your peers, but something feels missing, and you no longer feel as connected to Allah as you used to. A nagging question of “Why don’t I feel happy? Who am I, really, and what should I be doing with my life?” haunts you.

Or else you’re a nurse who works 12-hour shifts. You selflessly look after others, and even when the day has felt particularly long (the patients did nothing but complain, and one of the doctors got snappy with you), you don’t have time to pause. You come home daily to aging parents who also need your care and attention.

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So often, we find ourselves stuck in a rut. We keep going in circles, from one responsibility to the next, without any sense of relief. It’s just the same thing, over and over, and we’re trapped by life’s daily grind. If only we knew the treasures the night can hold: The peace and silence; the calm and tranquility not found during the day. Lights out, family and children asleep, a phone line which might as well be dead. If only we recognized the night as our chance to talk – uninterrupted – with our Lord.

If only we understood it as our chance to draw closer to Allah. To know that He descends, subhanahu wa ta’ala, every night in the last third of the night to the nearest heaven, in a way befitting His Might and Majesty.

When the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam was sent with the message of Islam, Allah told him to stand up and pray: * O you wrapped up in your garment: * Stand (to pray) all night, except for a little. * Half of it, or a little less than that, * Or a little more, and recite the Qur’an with a slow, measured recitation. * Certainly, we’ll be sending down a heavy word to you. * Certainly, the hours of the night make a deeper impression and are more suitable for understanding the words (of Allah). * Certainly, you’re preoccupied for long hours during the day. And remember the Name of your Lord and devote yourself to Him with complete devotion. [73:1-8]

Even our beloved Messenger faced difficulties. And this was Allah’s way of telling him that he should stand up to pray at night; that when he did, Allah would give him the strength to carry on during the day, salla Allahu alayhi wasallam. So whatever difficult times and long days we’re facing, when our beds and the thought of rest calls out to us, we should remember not to forget to make qiyam, to put in an effort to stand up before Allah and pray.

Extra night prayers should be what we turn to: they should be our source of strength and comfort. Alhamdulillah, it’s easy to taste the sweetness of night prayer during Ramadan. We stand behind the Imam for long rak’ahs listening to the beautiful recitation, and we’re able to join in and reflect on the du’aa during witr. But qiyam should be something we strive for year-round. And in order to turn it into a habit, we need to fall in love with qiyam.

Maybe that’s too high of a goal as of yet. Falling in love with something isn’t as easy as we think. Falling in love requires a lot of commitment and sacrifice. Falling in love means that we’re ready to give up anything for what we love. It means that we’re ready to do anything we can in order to get it, that we’re ready to sacrifice other very dear and important things for it, that we’re ready to prove our claim true by racing to achieve it.

Yes, maybe that is a bit too much. But if we don’t strive for this level, then how do we truly value the blessings, those acts of worship Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has gifted us with throughout the year, and especially during Ramadan? We can’t attain anything we truly value until we become willing to sacrifice for it. That mental rest from the long day’s toil; those most beautiful moments spent in seclusion with Allah; that sense of understanding and peace that can only come from being connected with our Creator and Maker – how will we achieve any of that if we’re not willing to sacrifice for it? How will we be given Allah’s love, how will we earn His nearness, how will we enjoy the sweetness of worshiping Him, subhanahu wa ta’ala, unless we give up our sleep, our laziness, our late-night surfing? Instead of clicking on just one more useless YouTube video to laugh, instead of checking Twitter just one more time for updates, instead of having that last slice of cake which will taste delicious but make us sleepy… why not give it all up to prepare to stand before Allah ta’ala at night and pray?

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The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam commented on one of his companions by saying, “What a righteous man Abdullah is, if only he would pray at night.” [Bukhari]

Think of how righteous you and I can become, if only we would get up to pray at night. Think of how close to Allah we can grow, if only we’d put a little effort in. We want to become righteous people. We want Allah’s love and His nearness, His mercy and forgiveness. We went to go through life’s difficulties with strength and vigor, knowing that what we do is only for Allah… so let’s prove that we want all this by sacrificing and struggling to stand before Allah.

                                This Ramadan, let’s fall in love with qiyam ♡♥

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Points to Consider:

– If you’re praying tawareeh (which is a form of qiyam), make sure to complete the whole taraweeh prayer with the Imam and end when he ends. The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam said regarding the night prayer in Ramadan: “Whoever prays qiyam with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded as if he spent the whole night in prayer.” [Tirmidhi]

– If you missed out on taraweeh, wake up a little early for suhoor to pray. For sisters who can’t pray, still wake up a little early to make istighfar, and insha’Allah Allah will reward you for praying qiyam consistently.

– Make qiyam an occasion where you dress your best, preparing to meet Allah.

-Make du’aa during qiyam in Ramadan that Allah will continue to bless you with being to stand before Him throughout Ramadan, and beyond  for the rest of the year.