*Hear & Obey*

Ibrahim’s wife [Haajar] asked him, “To whom are you leaving us?” And in certain al-Bukhari narrations, she repeated this question or plea over and over again, yet throughout, he did not turn around to answer her; finally, she said, “Did Allāh order you to do this?” He ‘alayhi salam said, “Yes.” She said, “Then He will not allow us to waste away (or perish).” In another narration, she said, “I am pleased with Allāh (i.e., with His decree and with being placed in His care).” Instead of saying: “There are priorities. Instead of leaving us in this barren desert, you should take us with you, for we can then help you in calling others to the way of Allāh.” She only heard and obeyed.

If we know that a command is from Allāh subhanahu wa ta’ala, we must also try and do as the mother of Isma’il did: hear and obey.

Being pleased with Allāh’s decree, she began to move briskly from al-Safa to al-Marwa, now hoping to find water, and now fearing for her son who was on the verge of dying.

The fruits of their obedience to Allah are fruits that were reaped not just by Ibrahim ‘alayhi salam, his wife, and his child; rather they are fruits that every Islamic Monotheist on

the face of the earth has reaped and will continue to reap until the coming of the Hour.

Muslims come to Makkah in throngs from both the east and the west. They are happy and contented because they are making circuits between al-Safa and al-Marwa, in the same place that the mother of Isma’il performed the same circuits. They come from far-off lands in order to train themselves to obey Allāh’s commandments.

As they move briskly between the two said mountains, they reflect on how the mother of Isma’il raced back and forth in a state of pain and sadness, placing obedience to her Lord before all else.

Then, by the permission of Allāh, the water of Zamzam gushed forth, water that contains a cure to diseases and sickness and that is blessed and excellent. To this very day, Muslims are eager to drink as much as they can from that very same water and to transport it to their homelands, no matter the distance and the hardships involved.

And Ibrahim ‘alayhi salam built the Inviolable House.The rewards of praying there are many times greater than the rewards of praying elsewhere. People also achieve the rewards of performing tawaf around the Ka’bah, and their supplications are answered. These are the benefits that extend beyond those who obeyed to those that came after them.

Let us too try to be obedient to our Lord, even if doing so apparently involves some fatigue, hardship. Let us forbid ourselves from disobedience and transgression.

Let us be as Allah (subhanahu wata aala) praised and described the believers in the Qur’an:

*”The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah (His Words, the Quran) and His Messenger (SAW), to judge between them, is that they say: “We hear and we obey.” And such are the prosperous ones (who will live forever in Paradise)*”. (Q24:51)

*”It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error”*.(Q33:36)

And it is Allahs help we seek to make us amongst His obedient servants, ameen.

Trials and Calamities

“Were it not that Allah treats His slaves with the remedy of trials and calamities, they would transgress and overstep the mark. When Allah wills good for His slaves, He gives him the medicine of calamities and trials according to his situation, so as to cure him from all fatal illnesses and diseases, until He purifies and cleanses him, and then makes him qualified for the most honorable position in this world, which is that of being a true slave of Allah (‘uboodiyyah), and for the greatest reward in the Hereafter, which is that of seeing Him and being close to Him.”

— Ibn Qayyim al Jawzziyah (RA)

Fear Allah wherever you are

*Hadith 18: “Fear Allah wherever you are…”*

On the authority of Abu Dharr Jundub ibn Junada and Abu Abdul Rahmaan Muaadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with both of them) from the Messenger of Allah

(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who said, “Fear Allah wherever you are. And follow up a bad deed with a good deed and it will wipe it out. And behave towards the

people with a good behavior.”

Recorded by al-Tirmidhi who said it is a hasan hadith. And in some of the copies [of Sunan al-Tirmidhi, it says it is]

hasan sahih.

*Brief Commentary*

This is one of the hadith wherein the Prophet (peace be upon him)

gives a Companion some advice, although it is for all Muslim, in reality. In this particular case, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has stated advice whose meaning covers all of the rights that an individual must attend to. In one short statement, the Prophet (peace be upon him) covered the rights of Allah over an

individual, the rights of an individual upon himself and the rights of other individuals over a person. By fulfilling Allah’s rights, one becomes beloved to

Allah. By fulfilling the rights of human beings, one also becomes beloved to them. It could even be argued that this is an all-encompassing advice, beyond which one really needs no other advice.

“Fear Allah wherever you are”

Taqwa emanates from the root waqaaya, which means, “he protected,”

or “to protect.” When the word taqwa (“fear”) is used with respect to Allah, as in this hadith, it means that one must fear or protect himself from Allah’s anger

and punishment. This is the greatest thing that one must protect oneself from. It is the source of Allah’s punishment in both this world and the Hereafter. the person must do what he can to avoid and protect himself from earning the anger of Allah. He does this by being sincere to Allah, by performing what Allah has ordered and remaining away from what Allah has

prohibited. This is, in essence, taqwa.

“And follow up a bad deed with a good deed and it will wipe it out”

This portion of the hadith demonstrates that even those who have taqwa slip sometimes and commit sins. Being from the muttaqeen does not

imply perfection. However, the muttaqeen do not persist in their sins. When they remember Allah, they change back to their old selves. And they

immediately follow up evil deeds with good deeds. This is in accordance with what the Prophet (peace be upon him) has advised them to do. some

Scholars interpret “good deed” here to mean repentance from that sin which was committed, it can also mean good deeds in general.

“And behave toward the people with a good behavior”

This means that one should deal with and interact with others in a good manner. This includes having a pleasant expression and smile when one greets

them. It also includes being calm and gentle with them as well as not having bad thoughts about them. This should be done with respect to all people, for example, both the young and the old. This concept of good behavior is summed up by some people in the statement, “You should treat the others in the way

that you would like them to treat you.”

Having good character is a characteristic of taqwa. Taqwa cannot be complete without it. It was mentioned here by itself due to the need for explicitly explaining that point. Many people think that taqwa implies fulfilling the “rights of Allah” without fulfilling the rights of humans. Therefore, the Prophet

(peace be upon him) explicitly stated that he must deal with people in a kind manner.

May Allah make us of the muttaqoon. Ameen.

Dhul-Qarnayn

وَيَسْـَٔلُونَكَ عَن ذِى ٱلْقَرْنَيْنِ ۖ قُلْ سَأَتْلُوا۟ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْهُ ذِكْرًا ﴿٨٣﴾؅

________________________

And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about Dhul-Qarnayn. Say, “I will recite to you about him a report.” (Al Qur’an 18:83)

The final story in Surah Al Kahf is in relation to Dhul-Qarnayn. This story, including the story of the People of the Cave, was revealed in response to the efforts by the Jews of Mecca to discredit Rasulullah SAW. Their scholars had knowledge of certain tales only known to the religious elite amongst them, and they challenged Rasulullah SAW by giving him certain keywords and asking him to describe these stories in full to prove that he was indeed a Prophet. Not having Jewish or Christian ancestry, these stories were not known to the community of Mekkah at that time and were not part of their traditions. So, the only means of which Rasulullah SAW could have told them the details was if the story was revealed by Allah himself (through the angel Jibril AS).

When asked to describe these incidents, Rasulullah SAW asked the questioners to return the following day, and that he would answer their questions then – but he omitted from saying“Insha Allah” (God willing). This was a tiny mistake on his part, but Allah swiftly admonished him for this oversight. Usually when challenged by the disbeliever, or if faced with an issue that would require divine guidance to solve, Jibril AS would reveal the revelations to Muhammad SAW and the answer to challenges were provided quickly: if not the same day itself, then within a short period of time after that. In this case, however, day after day passed and as time went by, Jibril AS did not materialize. As time passed, people speculated that Rasulullah SAW did not rise up to the challenge thrown by the Jews. This was a trial from Allah, and also for admonishing Rasulullah SAW for not saying “Insha Allah” before making a commitment.

This reminder is in fact recorded in the Qur’an:

And never say of anything, “Indeed, I will do that tomorrow,” Except [when adding], “If Allah wills.” And remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, “Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct.” (Al Qur’an; 18:24)

Who was Dhul-Qarnayn?

Eventually however, Allah revealed the answers to Rasulullah SAW, and they are contained in the eighteenth chapter of the Qur’an, Surah Al Kahf.

And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about Dhul-Qarnayn. Say, “I will recite to you about him a report.” (Al Qur’an 18:83)

Who exactly is Dhul-Qarnayn? It is popularly believed that Dhul-Qarnayn refers to Iskandar Dhul-Qarnayn or Alexander the Great of Macedonia. However, the historical details do not match, and further, Alexander the Great of Macedonia was not a believer in Islam whereas Dhul-Qarnayn was a pious believer. There are many theories of who this man was and in what era he lived. However, the precise identity of Dhul-Qarnayn is not described in the Qur’an and Hadith, and Allah did not provide us with the details for a wisdom that He knows. As with many other Qur’anic stories, Allah only reveals essential information to us, and if details are not revealed, then the knowledge of such details is inconsequential to our journey of iman and we should not enquire or debate any further about it.

What is known is that Dhul-Qarnayn was a man endowed by Allah with many talents and abilities, including military prowess, the ability to rule kingdoms, and extensive practical knowledge on many aspects of life. He was also a pious and steadfast Muslim who constantly contemplated over the signs of Allah and lived his days travelling from one destination to the next in order to establish justice in the land and alleviate the suffering of the people.

Indeed We established him upon the earth, and We gave him to everything a way. So he followed a way. (Al Qur’an 18:84 – 18:85)

The Travels of Dhul-Qarnayn

Dhul-Qarnayn travelled extensively in his life. It is said that he ruled the earth from east to west, but it is noted that Allah only revealed part of this story to us. We therefore record what is revealed in the Qu’ran, and will not cite information which is not verified by authentic sources.

One of this travels brought him to the West, where he found the sun setting as if in a spring of dark mud. In this location he discovered a community who were living under oppressed conditions.

Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it [as if] setting in a spring of dark mud, and he found near it a people. Allah said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, either you punish [them] or else adopt among them [a way of] goodness.” (Al Qur’an 18:86)

So Dhul-Qarnayn went into the community and led them to the correct path and ways of life in accordance with the rulings of the Almighty. He liberated the community from the oppression that they were subject to, inflicted punishment upon the oppressors, criminals and evildoers and aided the weak and oppressed until justice was established in the land.

He said, “As for one who wrongs, we will punish him. Then he will be returned to his Lord, and He will punish him with a terrible punishment. But as for one who believes and does righteousness, he will have a reward of Paradise, and we will speak to him from our command with ease.” (Al Qur’an 18:87 – 18:88)

Having completed his task, he and his army continued on their journey, until one day, against the rising sun, he found a people who were backward and ignorant, living in the open without any shelter or protection against the sun.

Then he followed a way. Until, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had not made against it any shield. (Al Qur’an 18:90)

He educated the community there on what they needed to do. He shared and imparted his knowledge to them, taught them the skills required such as carpentry and agriculture, and then continued on his journey.

Thus. And We had encompassed [all] that he had in knowledge. (Al Qur’an 18:91)

The next part of his journey is the most astounding, where he met a curious community, so far removed that he barely understood their language.

Then he followed a way. Until, when he reached [a pass] between two mountains, he found beside them a people who could hardly understand [his] speech. (Al Qur’an 18:92 – 18:93)

They said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, indeed (Ya’juj) Gog and Magog (Ma’juj) are [great] corrupters in the land. So may we assign for you an expenditure that you might make between us and them a barrier?” (Al Qur’an 18:94)

Little is known about Ya’juj and Ma’juj – what race they are, their exact location and what form they appear in. There are various ahadeeth however, which categorically describes them as being corrupters of the land, and it is prophesized in both Al Qur’an and ahadeeth that they will, close to the end of time, appear on the land and cause great trouble and strife.

Many scholars have their own opinion on this matter. However, we are of the view that this is the knowledge of the unseen, and the theories of the scholars are not based on authentic or confirmed sources within ahadeeth and the Qur’an. Hence we will not be exploring the speculations of the scholars, but will take a literal approach and quote only the text in the Qur’an for the purpose of this story.

Allah gave Dhul-Qarnayn the knowledge to solve the predicament of the people there, and so he instructed them to build a gigantic wall or dam of iron between the two mountains and then pour molten copper to strengthen and increase its impenetrability.

He said, “That in which my Lord has established me is better [than what you offer], but assist me with strength; I will make between you and them a dam. Bring me sheets of iron” – until, when he had leveled [them] between the two mountain walls, he said, “Blow [with bellows],” until when he had made it [like] fire, he said, “Bring me, that I may pour over it molten copper.” So Gog and Magog were unable to pass over it, nor were they able [to effect] in it any penetration. (Al Qur’an 18:95 – 18:97)

However, the qadr of Allah is still to pass. One day, close to the end of time, the barrier will be levelled and from there, Ya’juj and Ma’juj will be liberated and will spread great corruption and discord throughout the land.

[Dhul-Qarnayn] said, “This is a mercy from my Lord; but when the promise of my Lord comes, He will make it level, and ever is the promise of my Lord true.” And We will leave them that day surging over each other, and [then] the Horn will be blown, and We will assemble them in [one] assembly. (Al Qur’an 18:98 – 18:99)

Often, we become confident in our ability to deliver, and we attribute such abilities to our own might and strength: a casual promise, or even the undertaking to meet a deadline or attend an appointment. However, nothing in this earth happens without Allah’s will or permission.

The main lesson that can be learnt from the story of Dhul-Qarnayn is that all ability, might and power comes from Allah, and when one’s inclination is towards goodness, he should use those abilities to do good.

The more we are sincere in wanting to perform good deeds, the more Allah will increase our ability to spread the message, meaning such parts of our abilities that enable us to benefit others. Dhul-Qarnayn travelled extensively from one end of

Dhul-Qarnayn was a conqueror, and only a few of us have this immense ability. However, we all have different skills – some of us are persuasive talkers, some of us are wealthy, some of us are good at organizing projects, some of us have extensive knowledge of the akhirah, and some of us have extensive knowledge of the useful things in Dunya (for example, medicine, engineering, life skills). When given such skills by Allah, we should not just monopolize them for our own advantage, but also use them for the betterment of others and for sabeelillah, because we will be questioned about it in the hereafter.

May Allah make us tools of alleviating mankind and Islam, ameen.

Generosity

Generosity is not a one time act; it’s a lifestyle, a daily habit, a way of life and the ways to achieving this are Alhamdulillah limitless.

Generosity encompasses being kind toward others with everything that we have been blessed with; it could be with our wealth, time, advice, expertise or even our smile. It is about sharing it with others with a big heart!

*Generous with our Wealth*

This includes Zakaah and Sadaqah (charity). Giving out from one’s wealth is immensely encouraged in our beautiful religion, so much that zakaah is one of the five pillars of Islam. Whereas, sadaqah is not obligatory on any kind of wealth, rather it is what a person can give, without any specific limits or guidelines.

Our prophet Mohammed (sallahu alaihi sallam) taught us how simple it is for one to enjoin in sadqah in this beautiful hadith:

Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallahu alaihi wa sallam) said :

*“Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. Your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi)*

SubhanAllah! Even the smallest of actions when performed with a pure intention are considered a form of charity; hence we should make good use of this.

Moreover, Allah (subhanahu wata aala) says in the glorious Qur’an:

*“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” (Surat Al-Baqarah, 2:261)*

This incredible ayah portrays the infinite reward from Allah (subhanahu wata aala) for those who spend for His sake, so how could we carelessly deprive ourselves of such a reward by putting a limit to our generosity?

*With Our Time*

Many a times, we get caught up with work load, it could be due to our school/university deadlines or our demanding jobs and careers. This causes us to isolate ourselves from others in order for us to ‘focus’ on finishing the tasks on hand. Our loved ones get less attention, we become outdated with new events and happenings in their lives and we almost forget that others exist alongside us. Being generous with our time is a fundamental aspect of having healthy relationships. If we don’t even have the time to ask others “how was your day”, then how could we expect our relationships to remain prosperous?

Action plan:

1) Give your loved ones more of your time- the key to doing this is to manage your time well by ensuring time for work and time for family and friends.

2) Volunteering activities- If you don’t know what to do when free, then what could be more honorable than dedicating some of your time to help those who are less fortunate or for community service?

3) With Advice

The prophet (sallahu alaihi wa sallam) taught us to love for one another what we love for ourselves:

It is narrated on the authority of Anas b. Malik that the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) observed: “None amongst you believes (truly) until he loves for his brother” – or he said “for his neighbor” – “that which he loves for himself.” (Sahih Muslim)

Therefore, if a friend is going through certain difficulties, our main concern should be to see the smile on their faces by relieving them from their stress or worries.

Action plan:

1) It is a duty upon us to listen to people’s concerns without interruptions and with full attention so that we may be able to give the best advice possible.

2) We have to be sincerely concerned for those who come to confide in us, it would be inconsiderate of us to just give any advice in order to dismiss them as soon as could be.

3) Whatever secret information is disclosed during the conversation must be kept safe and not publicized to the entire world. We have to appreciate people’s privacy and abstain from injuring their feelings and emotions.

“The Messenger of Allah (sallahu alaihi wa sallam) commanded us one day to give sadaqah. At that time I had some property. I said: Today I shall surpass AbuBakr if I surpass him any day. I, therefore, brought half my property. The Messenger of Allah (sallahu alaihi wa sallam) asked: What did you leave for your family? I replied: The same amount. AbuBakr brought all that he had with him. The Messenger of Allah (sallahu alaihi wa sallam) asked him: What did you leave for your family? He replied: I left Allah and His Apostle for them. I said: I shall never compete with you in anything.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)

One day a beggar knocked on the door of Ayesha (RA) and she was fasting. There was only a piece of bread in the house for Ayesha (RA) to break her fast with, yet she insisted for it to be given to the beggar, overlooking her own need. That evening, food was sent to her door and it was better than the piece of bread she had. SubhanAllah!

The companions are our role models because they were generous even in times of hardship and never did they do it for publicity, it was solely for the sake of Allah (sallahu alaihi wa sallam). Let’s get into the ‘art of giving’ and make it a habit to put a smile on a person’s face, everyday!

May Allah (subhanahu wata aala) increase us in generosity and every kind of good character, ameen thumma ameen.

This week’s saying

Sayings of the salaf ■

Yunus Ibn Maisarah said, “Being detached from this world does not mean that you should forbid what Allah has permitted, nor that you should squander money. Rather,it is a state in which you are more certain of what is in the hand of Allaah than you are of what is in your hands. Your state in misfortune is the same as your state at other times; your attitude towards those who quite rightly criticise you and those who quite rightly praise you is the same.

An-Nur

99 Names Of Allah Series

Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh.

I hope we are all in good state of Iman and health. Alhamdulillah

An-Nur- The Light

Allah calls Himself An-Nur—The Light, The Illuminating— on one occasion in the Quran. He is the one who is the light and from whom comes all light. An-Nur is the light of the heavens and earth, and His light clarifies and reveals, both physically and spiritually!

An-Nur comes from the root noon-waw-raa which points to four main meanings. The first main meaning is to give light and illuminate and the second to make visible, reveal,, and clarify. The third main meaning is to be flaming, blazing, and apparent to the senses, and the fourth main meaning to enlighten or give advice.

Linguistically, nur is used to indicate anything that gives off light, in the form of rays for example, and is that which makes things visible. Referring to Allah ‘azza wa jall, He is the one by whom everything is made visible, whose attribute is light, and He is the One who illuminates (munawwir) and the One who guides (Haadi) the heavens and the earth!

An-Nur Himself says: Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. [Quran, 24:35]

In the Quran and Sunnah we can find that Allah ‘azza wa jall has a nur (light) related to Him as an attribute of His essence. This is the same as His other attributes, for example sight, knowledge, might, etc. An-Nur says: And the earth will shine with the Light of its Rabb. [Quran, 39:69] This refers to the magnificent moment Allah ‘azza wa jall will come on the Day of Resurrection to judge mankind.

The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallamstated about Allah’s attribute of nur: You are the Light of the heavens and the earth.[Al-Bukhaaree] He salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said the very weighty words: Light is His hijaab (veil), if He uncovers it then the subuhaat (brightness and splendour) of His Face would burn His creation so far as His Sight reaches.[Muslim]

In surah An-Nur, ayah 35, Allah ‘azza wa jall describes His Light: The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things. [Quran, 24:35]

Ibn al Qayyim rahimahullah explained it as a spiritual light bestowed by Allah ‘azza wa jall upon the heart of His believing slave [Ijtimaa’ al-Ju-yoush al-Islaamiyyah] The niche is compared with the chest of the believer; inside the niche is a glass, of the most crisp and clear kind, and this glass resembles the heart of a believer. It sees the truth by virtue of its clarity and, similar to the olive oil, is the substance of the believing heart;it is from the “tree” of Revelation (that which Allah ‘azza wa jall revealed in His books). [Ibn al Qayyim’s al-Waabil as-Sayyib] The stronger a believer adheres to the revelation, the stronger the roots in his heart are!

O Allah, place light in my heart, and on my tongue light, and in my ears light and in my sight light, and above me light, and below me light, and to my right light, and to my left light, and before me light and behind me light. Place in my soul light. Magnify for me light, and amplify for me light. Make for me light and make me a light. O Allah, grant me light, and place light in my nerves, and in my body light and in my blood light and in my hair light and in my skin light [Al-Bukhaaree]

May Allah make the Quran the light in our life. Ameen