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Fasting New Muslims

The Four Sacred Months: What Do You Know about Them?

From the twelve lunar months of the Islamic calendar there are four sacred, concerning them Allah says:

Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them, four are sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein. (At-Tawbah 9:36)

Four Months Are Sacred

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also said about them:

“The division of time has turned to its original form which was current when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth. The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred. Three are in succession: Dhul-Qi`dah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumada Thani and Sha`ban.” (Al-Bukhari)

So what characterizes these four months, and what should we do in them?

Sheikh Muhammad Salah answers in this video…

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Muslim Lifestyle New Muslims

Work and Spiritually: Where Do They Meet?

laptop

With sincere intentions and noble efforts you can hopefully recreate some of that much needed spiritual reformation.

For many of us as Muslims out in the working world or even at home, it can be a challenge to sustain our spirituality post-Ramadan. Many people I know complain of the need to reform their spiritual habits and I count being in in good companionship as one of the vital ways to continually boost your spiritual development.

In the modern day, it is easy to slip out of the ‘spiritually developing’ zone, especially when you are in a non-Muslim environment and don’t have the same network of ‘sisterhood’ or ‘brotherhood’ to encourage your spiritual growth let alone as much free time.

I know of many friends who are in professions such as doctors, lawyers and even bankers who feel this ‘void’ in spirituality after venturing out into the working world. They feel a real dip in their faith and are crying out for ways to stay in touch with their spirituality in the workplace.

This article is an attempt at providing practical ways for spiritual reformation that I have personally adopted to use in the working world. Although it will be a real challenge for many, with sincere intentions and noble efforts you can hopefully recreate some of that much needed spiritual reformation.

1- Find Good Work Buddies

Although it’s easier to surround yourself with Muslims, I have personally found that even being in the presence of people from other faiths can strengthen your own faith. It is important to find a work buddy who you can openly discuss your faith with and be in good company. Even if it can’t be a Muslim colleague, then at least a colleague who understands and respects you and your faith values. I often find that non-Muslim colleagues are more interested in chatting about general life matters, so find areas of common interest before you start talking to them about matters related to your faith.

For those of us fortunate to work in a predominantly Muslim environment, having good company is still important as we can often lose ourselves amidst work. In our office, we’ve started a regular 10 minute reminder with the sisters once a week which we rotate between staff to help us remind each other of how to strive to be better Muslims – it’s often the spiritual dose we need for the rest of the week’s work!

2- Talk about Faith

One of the beauties of working with non-Muslim colleagues is that there is a natural sense of curiosity about you as a Muslim, but also at a human level so ensure you break down any barriers and connect with them at a human level first. Find out about their life outside of work without prying too much of course! This always opens doors to then talking about more personal matters like your faith.

Hopefully by developing a bond with your colleagues which goes beyond work you can comfortably and confidently talk about what it is like being a Muslim. Being a visible Muslim woman at work, maybe through wearing the hijab, is a walking da`wah opportunity, as every action and conversation teaches others about Islam.

Also, I have often found my non-Muslim friends have niggling questions about Islam which I am able to talk to them about openly once we’ve built a good working relationship.

3- Read, Read and Read!

There is one practice I have continued since university to develop myself spiritually, which is reading books – the more I read the more I realize how little I actually know! It is vital you read Islamic books on spiritual development such as Al-Ghazali’s works. You can even fit this reading into your travel time to work as I often do by reading on my Kindle.

balanced life

Despite the challenges, it is really important to have a work-life balance for your wellbeing.

During lunch breaks you can also read articles which will boost your faith and remind you of Allah through websites such as Muslim Matters, Suhaib Webb or ProductiveMuslim.com to keep you stimulated and get a refreshing ‘spiritual break’.

4- Attend a Regular Circle/Class

Despite the demands on your time as a professional Muslim and even at home, it is really important to have a work-life balance for your wellbeing. One of the ways to boost your spirituality is to attend a regular class, even if it is online rather than in person, to surround yourself with like-minded people as well as to continue to benefit in the pursuit of knowledge.

Find out what local circles are taking place, some workplaces even have Muslim associations and events you can attend or better still set one up of your own! I often tell sisters that they need to ensure they invest in themselves to grow spiritually and emotionally.

5- Use Salah to Re-focus

We are blessed as Muslims to have the daily salah, yet so many of us rush through prayer in a bid to get other work done.

Instead, we should use salah to refocus and re-energized ourselves for work. I often find that when I have a difficult task to do at work, just switching off and going to pray helps me come back more focused to tackle the task.

Also, prayer is a constant reminder that we are dependent on Allah’s Help to succeed at work and any task which lies ahead. So capitalize on this spiritual booster in your working day!

Once you’ve started to take the above steps, make du`aa’ that Allah places blessing in your work and time through your endeavors to better yourself. Remind yourself of the importance of holding onto your faith values and how you are an ambassador for Islam through your actions in the workplace. Hopefully, using the steps above you can begin to make spiritual reformations at work and beyond.

Productive Muslim is a Muslim who is striving for the highest station in Jannah (Paradise) by making the best of all the resources around her.

_________________________

Source: Dawahskills.com.

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Fear and Hope: God’s Two Blessings

sky-nature

If a person acts without concern and fear as if he came to this world only to live, then they should be concerned about themselves.

It is narrated in a prophetic saying that God said ”I will not give my servant two assurances at the same time.” (Ibn Hibban)

Fear and hope are two great blessings that God has given us or will do so in the future. Using these two blessings in a measured way as a vehicle to reach God is another blessing, indeed a greater blessing.

For a Better Life

There’s an association between one’s sense of security and a life of comfort and possibly luxury while fear is connected with leading a life in poverty and destitution. At first glance, this may readily provide a partial explanation to the hadith above, but it would be wrong to assume that this is an exhaustive commentary.

Another way to understand this hadith could be as follows:

If a person is living carefree and in indulgence in the world, is not concerned about the next life, and has no worries about the destruction of his soul and spiritual life, and if that person has no fear of the losing his subtle qualities, no fear of the death of his feelings and the extinction of his spiritual faculties and thus lives without fear, that person cannot be without fear in the next world.

If a person lives with fear in this world-fear in the sense mentioned above, and is always anxious both in his words and actions, saying: ”O my Lord! If it were not for Your benevolence, I could not protect my faith; if not for Your grace, I could not protect my subtle points; if not for Your generosity, I could not survive; if not for Your compassion and mercy, I cannot enter Heaven. If not for the beloved, the mercy of the world, I would not have found my way and would have remained in depravity.”

If he can always exist in this fear and frequently take himself to account, control himself, and take the opportunity to renew himself, in the next world-God willing-there will be no fear for him.

However, there is an indispensible truth in the way this question is phrased, and it is not far from the meaning expressed in the hadith. If a person acts without concern and fear as if he came to this world only to live, and if he never feels any anxiety, then that person should be concerned about himself.

In fact, even if this does not happen often, he should worry about living only in comfort and languor and feel shame for it. The following example clarifies the matter a little more.

As related in sound narrations, `Umar ibn `Abdulaziz would sometimes repeat the verse, ”When the chains are around their necks, and fetters (around their legs). They will be dragged,” (Ghafir 40:71) and would fall on the floor.

In addition, he would read this verse many times and pass out:

You consumed in your worldly life your (share of) pure, wholesome things, and enjoyed them fully (without considering the due of the Hereafter, and so have taken in the world the reward of all your good deeds). So this Day, you are recompensed with the punishment of abasement because of your scornful arrogance on the earth against all right, and because of your transgressing (the bounds set by God). (Al-Ahqaf 46:20)

Sound Heart/Belief

Yes, it is very normal for a believer with a sound heart to have such a concern, and actually this fear is the result of profound contemplations. But God may have also given this world in terms of substantial health to a person as He gave to `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf and `Uthman ibn `Affan, two giant believers.

In that case, believers should make use of their wealth for the sake of lofty purposes and serve humanity for the sake of God. It is not necessary to give away possessions entirely; it is better to give in measured terms to those who are in need.

A part of the assets should be retained so that they can be invested and wealth multiplied; thus, in the end one can donate a greater amount. Let it suffice that our intentions are pure, that we know this wealth is a trust from God and that we are ready to give it away when our Lord wants it.

This should be a benchmark against which we frequently check the level of our hearts. Can we comfortably say, deep within our consciences, that we are ready to give every time we hear the command and suggestions by Our Lord? Can we say, ’Yes, O My Lord, I am ready to give!’?

If we can do this, in other words, if the state of our heart is not attached to the possessions we have, then an increase in wealth can bear no negative impact upon us, and our property will not be the cause of any worry concerning the Hereafter, if God so wills.

On the other hand, if a person insists on living heedlessly, having no belief or spiritual quest, simply, yet unwisely seeking to please the never-pleased carnal self-may God forbid-such a person will be bogged down in the swamp, headfirst. Let these two points not be confused.

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Source: The Fountain Magazine

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How to Live & Develop as Muslim

By: Abul A`La Al-Mawdudi

Our Behavior

Brothers! Imagine the extraordinary kindness shown you by your Master! He asks you for things which really belong to Him and yet promises that it is a purchase He will pay you for. What unbounded generosity this is!

God has bought from the believers their lives and their possessions in return for Paradise. (At-Tawbah 9:111)

Such is the kindness of your Master. Now look at your conduct. You re-sell things to others which were given to you by your Master and which He had bought back from you.

And what a paltry price you accept for your precious things!

The ‘buyers’ make you work against the wishes of the Master. You serve them as if they are your sustainers. You sell them your brains and your bodies – indeed, everything that these rebels of God want to buy.

Can anything be more immoral than this? To sell a thing already sold is a legal and moral crime, even in this world. Those guilty of such crimes are tried in courts for cheating and fraud. Do you think you will escape trial in the court of God?

Who Is the True Muslim?

Brothers in Islam! Let us consider further the meaning and essential implications of the Kalimah (word); for it is the very foundation of Islam. Believe it and you enter Islam on its strength; understand it fully and mould your lives in accordance with it and you become true Muslims. Without it you can neither enter nor remain in Islam.

Read More: Who Is the Muslim and How to Be One?

The Parable

Allah calls it Kalimah Tayyibah, a good, pure and wholesome “word”, and thus defines it:

Are you not aware how God sets forth the parable of kalimah tayyibah? It is like a good tree – firmly rooted, its branches reaching into heaven. It gives its fruits every moment by the permission of its Lord. So God sets forth parables unto men that they may bethink themselves.

And the parable of kalimah khabithah (evil word) is like a corrupt tree – uprooted from the earth, having no permanence. God grants firmness unto those who have believed in the firm word, in the present life and in the world to come, and the wrongdoers He lets go astray, for God does whatever He wills. (Ibrahim 14: 24-27)

Kalimah Tayyibah is here likened to a noble tree, whose roots are firmly fixed in the earth and whose branches reach to the sky; and all the while it continues to yield abundant fruit, as commanded by its Lord.

Set against it is the kalimah khabithah, that is, an evil or corrupt word, a false belief and a baseless saying, which may be likened to a self-seeded plant ,growing in poor, shallow earth and easily plucked out with a single pull because its foots have no firm base.

So striking and beautiful is the parable that the more you reflect on it the more you will come to absorb the lessons that can be learnt from it.

Two Kinds of Trees

Consider examples of the two kinds of trees. Look at an oak tree. How firmly it is rooted, to what great height it reaches, how extensively its branches spread, what fine foliage it bears! How did this tree acquire such strength and magnificence? From the nature of its fruit, the acorn. Its seed has an inherent right to become a great tree.

And this right was so self-evident that when it made its claim, the earth, the water, the air, the warm day and the cool night, in fact, all the elements concerned, acknowledged it, and whatever it demanded from them was given to it.

Thus by merit it developed into a great tree; by yielding beneficial fruit and by the nobility of its dimensions it continued to demonstrate that it deserved to become a tree of mighty stature and that the help given it by the combined forces of earth and heaven was totally justified.

More! It was the duty of the elements to give such help because the power that is possessed by the earth, water and air and other elements to nourish, develop and mature trees is precisely meant for the purpose of helping trees of noble species.

But what about wild, self-seeded plants? Where are their strengths and virtues? Their roots are so shallow they can be pulled up by a child. They are so weak they wither away in the wind. If you touch them you may well be pricked by thorns.

If you taste them they may well be bitter and harmful. God, only, knows how many of these sprout every day, and wither away. Why are they as they are? The reason is that they do not possess the intrinsic right to grow that the acorn does and which allows the growth of the mighty oak.

When there are no trees of noble species to grow, the earth, which by its nature cannot remain fallow, tolerates the growth of shrubs and weeds. Water does give nourishment, and some energy is supplied by the air, but none of the elements accepts the right of existence of these plants as they do of the oak.

That is why neither the earth allows their roots to spread themselves within itself, nor is water willing wholeheartedly to give nourishment, nor is the air inclined to help them flourish.

So when, with this poor subsistence, these plants grow unhealthy, tasting bad, often bearing thorns and poisonous fruits, it is conclusively demonstrated that earth and heaven are not created to help the growth of such plants.

Keep these two examples before you and then think over the difference between the Kalimah Tayyibah and the kalimah khabithah.

_________________________

The article is an excerpt from Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi’s book “Let Us Be Muslims”.

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New Muslims Pilgrimage

Places of Ihram (Miqat) Map

ihram

Places of Ihram (Miqat) map

There are five particular places appointed for entering the state of ihram, which is a basic condition for the validity of hajj.

1- Dhul-Hulaifah, a place southwest of Madinah and 18 km from its mosque. It is the miqat for the people coming from Madinah and beyond.

2- Dhat-`Irq, a place 94 km to the northeast of Makkah. It is the miqat for the people coming from Iraq and beyond

3- Al-Juhfah, a place 187 km to the northwest of Makkah.

This was the miqat for the people coming from or passing through Syria and Egypt.

It was on the eastern coast of the Red Sea, but it has completely disappeared and Rabigh (to the north of Al-Juhfah) is used as the substitute for this miqat now.

4- Qarn Al-Manazil, 94 km to the east of Makkah. It is the miqat for the people of Najd and the pilgrims who pass by it.

5- Yalamlam, 54 km to the south of Makkah. It is the miqat for those coming from Yemen and the pilgrims who pass by it.

E-Da`wah Committee presents this map as an illustrated guide to explain the different places of Ihram

http://bit.ly/1JUlbKz

 

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New Muslims Pilgrimage

What to Pack for Hajj

Hajj Baggage

Having an idea of what you will be doing each day helps immensely.

Hajj is a spiritual journey made by Muslims who travel to Saudi Arabia for 2-4 weeks. It is usually made once in a lifetime, and it’s difficult to get an idea of what you might need to take because you’ve never done it before! During Hajj, you don’t just stay in one place.

Every couple of days, you keep moving. You move from hotels to old apartments to tents to sleeping under the stars out in the open. Then back to tents then apartments and finally a hotel, if your duration of stay is over two weeks.

This, in a way, symbolizes that life is a journey. We’re constantly moving, and our lives in this world are only temporary.

So, what are you supposed to pack for such a journey?

First, find a group that is recommended to you by others, and that you know is organized. This is everything during Hajj. An organized group saves you from stressing out about other things and focusing on the real goal when you get there, which is worship.

This type of group could also give you information on what they will provide for you during Hajj, and it will save you from taking extra things that you don’t need.

Also, you will need a lot of knowledge beforehand. Don’t go into Hajj thinking you will be guided every step of the way. There are around 120 people per group and only two leaders.

Although they are there to help, having an idea of what you will be doing each day helps immensely.

Now, on to the list of things to take:

My husband and I took one large suitcase with us. We were not going there for shopping, so we took the minimal amount of items. For gifts, we only got some prayer beads for direct family members and some dates.

You will need a backpack for this journey. Make sure it is comfortable with thick, cushioned straps, and a medium size. As you get ready to board your flight to Saudi Arabia, keep your backpack with you rather than checking it in. The last thing you need is losing all your essentials!

There is a chance of buses breaking down during journeys, resulting in walking a few miles with your bag, so make sure it is not too heavy or big in size. Some people brought rolling luggage but you’ll need to remember that the streets aren’t smooth and there are also a lot of stairs, so backpacks are the best option.

Comfortable walking shoes are a must. We always heard that we have to walk a lot during Hajj but only realized how much after we got there.

Tawaf and sa`i were easy for us Alhamdulillah. But just to give you an idea, to find a taxi from the Mina tents, you will need to walk around 1.5 hours. Our walk to Jamarat was also 1.5 hours in the heat, and then we had to come back as well same distance (the group website said it will be 45 minutes, so be prepared to walk more than expected!).

Practice walking for over an hour nonstop before leaving for Hajj. Make sure to buy them at least a month in advance and break into them before the journey.

Finally, I got a neck pillow for the bus journeys, tent, and sleeping in Muzdalifah out in the open. I kept it in a drawstring bag which I attached to the strap of my backpack so that I don’t have to carry it around.

Also, you will need two other bags apart from the backpack. One will be a small, cross-body messenger bag for the airport and during travel in general. You will need to take this during your visits to both Al-Masjid Al-Haram (in Makkah) and Al-Masjid An-Nabawi (in Madinah) as well.

Cross-body is important so that it  cannot be easily snatched like a shoulder bag, and it is also more confortable. In here, keep some cash, phone, solar power charger, snacks for energy, notebook and pen in which you have noted down addresses of where you’re staying and directions, prayer books and sunglasses.

On the main day of Hajj, you will be away from your tents and your belongings for an entire 24 hours. You will spend the entire day in `Arafat and entire night in Muzdalifah. For this you will need a medium sized bag, because there really isn’t any space in both places for anything bigger.

I didn’t want to have to take a whole different bag just for this one day, so I found a foldable bag online that worked perfectly for this occasion. It unfolds to a backpack that is ideal for a day trip. Keep an extra pair of clothes in this bag apart from other necessities.

Men will need a money belt to wear under their ihrams.

A document folder is essential to keep all your paperwork together in one place and safe from getting dirty. There are number of things you’ll need to keep in here:

Passport copies – at least 3 passport sized photos

Flight details

Credit/Debit Card copies

Hajj notes printouts

Proof of having taken the proper vaccines

Marriage Certificate copies if traveling with spouse

A Will is highly recommended and should be given to family members before leaving.

Finally, communication. It is absolutely necessary to get phones for all members of the family going. First of all, men and women stay in separate places throughout the stay and phones are the best way to get in touch. In a lot of cases in our group, only the husbands had phones and not the wives.

The husbands would be standing outside the women’s area, knocking loudly on doors, yelling out names. It was very disturbing for other people trying to worship or rest.

We got an extremely basic phone and used it every day.

I also took my smartphone. I had left my two-year old son with my parents and just needed to see him on Skype and through pictures. It definitely made me feel at ease. There is Wi-Fi in very limited pl

aces there.

In hotels they are reliable but outside that it’s hit or miss. If by chance it got connected, I was able to receive my son’s latest pictures and it comforted me knowing he’s having (way too much) fun!

I hope this post was helpful to you!

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Source: simplyincontrolplog.

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Best Days of the Year & the Best Deeds in Them

Do Not Miss out on `Arafah (9th Dhul Hijjah)!

The great importance of the day of `Arafah, the day when pilgrims gather in Mountain of `Arafah and perform the most important ritual in Hajj, is shown by the fact that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) swears an oath by this day:

Don’t waste this golden, annual opportunity to gain enormous rewards.

And (by) the witness and what is witnessed (the day of `Arafah). (Al-Buruj 85:3)

To make the most of the grand day of `Arafah, make sure to:

1- Fast and expiate your sins

Out of the first nine days, this is the most important day to keep a fast on:

Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Fasting on the Day of `Arafah, I hope from Allah, expiates for the sins of the year before and the year after.” (Ibn Majah)

Fasting this day is only recommended for those who are not performing Hajj, and it is not permitted for those performing Hajj to fast on the day of `Arafah.

2- Repent

The Messenger of Allah said: “There is no day when Allah ransoms more slaves from the Fire than the day of `Arafah. He draws near and expresses His pride to the angels and says: ‘What do these people want?’” (Muslim)

Don’t settle for less. You will have your minor sins forgiven with the fast of `Arafah (In sha Allah), so what about your major sins? Repent sincerely and remember that Allah is capable of forgiving all our sins no matter how great they are. Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an:

Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by sinning), do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful”. (Az-Zumar 39:53)

These grand days are a great opportunity to quit your sinful habits once and for all! Be regretful for committing sins and make a strong determination to never commit them ever again.

3- Make du`aa’, ask forgiveness

Even though the Day of `Arafah has a special status, it’s important to remember that all the days of Hajj are days of dhikr (remembrance of Allah).

The importance of dhikr is demonstrated in the following verses in which Allah addresses the pilgrims in Surat Al-Baqarah:

…But when you depart from ‘Arafat, remember Allah at al- Mash’ar al-Haram. And remember Him, as He has guided you, for indeed, you were before that among those astray. (Al-Baqarah 2:198)

Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart and ask forgiveness of Allah… (Al-Baqarah 2:199)

And when you have completed your rites, remember Allah like your (previous) remembrance of your fathers or with [much] greater remembrance… (Al-Baqarah 2:200)

And remember Allah during (specific) numbered days… (Al-Baqarah 2:203) in reference to the Days of Tashreeq (11-13 Dhul-Hijjah).

With regards to making du`aa’, the Prophet said: “The most excellent du`aa’ is the du`aa’ on the Day of `Arafah, and the best of what I and the prophets before me have said, is ‘There is no god but Allah, alone, without partner.’ (Malik)

Another recommended du`aa’ that is mentioned in the Qur’an is:

…Our Lord, give us in this world (that which is) good and in the Hereafter (that which is) good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire. (AL-Baqarah 2:201)

What a great chance you have to get your du`aa’ accepted! Prepare a du`aa’ list, as advised in Ramadan, so that you don’t spend a minute without asking Allah for everything you want, in this life and the Hereafter.

Again, don’t waste this golden, annual opportunity to gain enormous rewards. Fast and spend your time in supplication, repentance and remembering Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).

The Udhiyah (Sacrifice)

A great act of charity to get closer to Allah on the day of `Eid Al-Adha is sacrificing a livestock animal. This revives the sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was ready to give up everything for the sake of Allah and submitted unconditionally to Allah’s commands by even offering his beloved son as a sacrifice.

Revive the spirit behind the Sunnah, be generous and select a healthy animal for sacrifice. You may have given a lot of charity other than the udhiyah, but if you miss out on this, you have missed out on a great act of charity specific to this occasion. Look at how you have spent your money on luxuries for the entire year. Now what will you offer as a sacrifice to gain the closeness of Allah?

Give Charity

The days of `Eid are the days of sacrifice. Apart from the udhiya, what will you give for the pleasure of Allah?

a Spend from what you really love

Allah says in the Qur’an:

Never will you attain the good (reward) until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it. (Aal `Imran 3:92)

What is it that you value greatly? What possession can you sacrifice for Allah’s sake by giving it in charity? This may even be your precious talents, time, reputation, etc. How can you spend that in the way of Allah?

b- It’s time to give away everything extra

This may be the best time to de-clutter your house. Give in charity everything extra that you possess. What is the use of hoarding stuff that you will never use?

Assess your community needs. What can you do to help your community?

Befriend the Qur’an

The immense reward of reciting the Qur’an is evident from the following hadith:

Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.” (At-Tirmidhi)

As Muslims, our job is to not only recite, but also to understand, implement and spread the teachings of the Qur’an. How can we expect to be guided to the straight path unless we read The Book of guidance?

Given the importance of reciting the Qur’an, it is essential that we block time out of our day especially for this task. The most productive time to recite the Qur’an is in the early hours, as Allah says:

Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and (also) the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed. (Al-Israa’ 17:78)

Reading around 3½ juz each day will allow you to finish the Qur’an before `Eid begins Insha’Allah (within the first 9 days)!

Do Not Waste Time

These are the best days of the year! How can you possibly waste your time? Reject all invitations to parties and appointments which can be delayed to a later date. Tell them about the immense importance of these days and Insha’Allah you will even get rewarded for every good that they consequently do. If you can take time off work, do so. Again, remember that these are the most valuable days of the year!

Maintain Good Character

Just like the person performing Hajj must refrain from getting into disputes and acts of disobedience or risk the acceptance of their Hajj, you should try to do the same. Forgive everyone no matter what they have done to you. Visit the sick. Have good relations with people, especially your parents, relatives and neighbors. This would be the best time to re-establish ties of kinship and put barakah (blessing) in your life.

Spread the Knowledge

Unfortunately, many Muslims are unaware of the superiority of these days, or are unsure how to make the most of them. Spread the knowledge and multiply your rewards. This will also In sha Allah get you motivated to be foremost in performing good deeds.

The best days of the entire year have almost arrived! Muslims from around the globe will unite to perform one of the greatest forms of worship: Hajj.

Make the most of this grand opportunity by drawing nearer to our Creator by performing acts of worship with true sincerity and according to the Sunnah.

May Allah (Exalted be He) make us understand the greatness of these days and help us perform the best possible deeds with the purest of intentions. Ameen.

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Source: productivemuslim.com

 

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All Humans Are Inclined to Be Muslims

Allah (the Exalted) sent His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) with a religion to complete all religions and He made it a judge over them and a nullifier of their commandments. Allah has guaranteed that He would preserve this religion from all corruption and alteration and he described it as the ‘Straight Path’ all humans naturally incline to it.

humans

As long as the heart remains capable of accepting truth, it will perceive and be guided to it.

Whoever walks on it will be safeguarded in this world and the Hereafter and whoever turns away from it and walks on another path will be misguided and in ruin because opposing it means that a human being contradicts the natural disposition which Allah has created him upon.

Allah the Exalted said:

So direct your face towards the religion, inclining to truth and turning away from all that is false, in accordance with the natural disposition which God has instilled into man. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most people do not know. (Ar-Rum 30:30)

All Humans Are Naturally Muslims

Allah created the human self in a way that it is naturally inclined to everything that is good, practical and beneficial and to dislike everything that contains evil, corruption and harm.

Therefore, you see humankind incline naturally to good food and drink which is tasty and wholesome and stay away from food that is filthy and harmful.

In the same way, humans incline towards keeping the company of those who have high morals and upright character and keep away from those who are immoral and ill mannered. They love and respect those who have faultless qualities treating such people with decency and respect and at the same time, they do not treat those who have many faults with the same decency and respect.

This is the natural disposition that Allah has created in the human heart and self and He has made the heart capable of accepting the truth as he has created the eyes capable of seeing and the ears capable of hearing.

As long as the heart remains capable of accepting truth it will perceive and be guided to it; but if the heart changes because of following whims and desires, then it becomes misguided and follows falsehood. As we find in the words of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) who said:

“Allah said: ‘I created my servants as monotheists, but the devils came to them and deviated them from their religion, prohibiting what I allowed and commanding them to ascribe partners to me for which I gave no authority’.” (Sahih Muslim)

“Verily, the Religion with Allah is Islam”

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has informed us that there is no human born into this world except that he is upon the nature that Allah has created him upon. Then external influences come along that affect and change this nature.

As we find on the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him):

“No child is born except on Al-Fitrah (Islam) but his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian, as an animal delivers a perfect young animal: do you see any part of its body mutilated?”

Then Abu Hurairah said: “Read if you will the following verse: “..the natural disposition which God has instilled into man. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. (Ar-Rum 30:30) (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

Subsequently, the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) informed us that it is human nature to follow Islam and to not follow any other erroneous religion or misguided sect that was not revealed by Allah.

Notice how, in the previous narration the Prophet Mohammed did not say “or make them Muslim” as this shows that Islam is the religion of human nature and this is supported by another narration which clearly states this:

“There is no newborn baby, except that he is born on this religion until his tongue allows him to express himself otherwise.” (Muslim)

Why Islam?

Those that get to know the teachings of Islam recognize clearly that it is the truth that must be followed because its teachings nurture the healthy nature of humankind and promote it, and they do not revolt against it as it is made up of the following:

1- It commands us to worship Allah alone ascribing no partners to Him; He is the Creator of the whole universe and for him alone is sovereignty and He alone has power over all things. The healthy human nature requires that he who is described with perfection deserves respect and esteem, so how about He whose perfection is absolute and has no end or limits?

2- Islamic teachings have permitted all things of goodness and have forbidden all things that contain impurity because the healthy nature inclines towards all goodness and keeps away from impurity.

3- The teachings of Islam emphasize the adornment of oneself with good morals and an upright character and has forbidden obscenity and indecency because virtuous individuals prefer everything that is from goodness and reject everything that is indecent.

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet said: “Then I was brought two cups in one of them was milk and in the other one there was wine and it was said to me: Select any one you like. So I selected the cup containing milk and drank it. Then I was told: You have attained what is natural (i.e. Islam) had you selected the wine your nation would have gone astray.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

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The article is excerpted from the book “A Beneficial Summary of Rulings for New Muslim”, published by The Ministry of Endowments & Islamic Affairs, Kuwait- 2nd Edition 1436/2015.

 

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Between Heart & Limbs: How to Achieve Reality of Faith

If you contemplate the pillars of faith and Islam, you will see that they have combined between the actions of the heart and limbs.

faith

Based on your nearness to Allah, your knowledge of Him & His religion you will achieve the reality of faith.

“Whosoever testifies that None has the right to be worshiped but Allah Alone who has no partners, and that Mohammed is His slave and apostle, and that Jesus is Allah’s slave and apostle and His word which He bestowed on Mary and a spirit from Him, and that Paradise is true, and Hell is true, Allah will admit him into Paradise through any of its eight gates that he likes.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Faith.. Heart.. Body

Faith addresses the heart with Tawheed (Oneness of God) and conviction; and the pillars of Islam address the body with subservience and subjugation each of them complements the other.

Therefore, based on your nearness to Allah and your knowledge of Him and His religion you will achieve the reality of faith and the soul of Islam.

Look at the divine laws and rulings of Islam and you will see that it contains both ritual worship and daily transactions. The ritual worship is how we deal with our Lord and our daily transactions are how we deal with His creation.

Islam has not neglected any of these aspects at the cost of the other, rather as we are commanded to strive for excellence in our ritual worship we are also commanded to strive for excellence in the way we deal with people. Allah has said:

And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. (Al-Israa’ 17:23)

“Make things easy for people and do not make things difficult. Spread good news and bring them joy do not be harsh and turn them away.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

With these words our Prophet (peace be upon him) enjoined his companions to deal with people as our religion does not have any place for extremism or harshness. Seek closeness to Allah by performing voluntary actions when you have energy and a content heart and you will enjoy your worship and achieve your goals.

Ask Allah the Exalted to bless you with beneficial knowledge and virtuous deeds and sit in the gatherings of knowledge in your mosque and ask any questions that you have. Do not neglect yourself as questioning in Islam for those who want to practice and worship is obligatory as you find in the Qur’an that Allah (the Exalted) has said:

 So ask the people of the message if you do not know. (An-Nahl 16:43)

Path to Success

Your dedication to learning Islam is your path to success and the main cause for your stability so if you want to increase yourself in the strength of your faith then be steadfast in your obedience to Allah as a person’s faith increases and decreases.

It increases with obedience and decreases with sin, so be steadfast as you have been commanded to be by Allah and be punctual in your prayers with your brothers at the mosque.

Attend the religious celebrations and do not be lax in any of the pillars of Islam such as the five daily prayers, obligatory almsgiving, and Hajj as Allah has guaranteed that if you do this, your faith will become stronger, rather you will taste the sweetness of this faith.

The best friend that you have is the one that shows you goodness and helps you to remain upon it and who you can trust in your religious affairs. Find out where the Islamic presentation committees are and follow the way of the good people that work there and attend their educational gatherings and Islamic lectures as these contain many benefits.

Despair Not

Beware of feeling estranged on your path to Allah (Exalted be He). If Allah is with you does it harm you that no one else is with you? It is stated in the Qur’an:

And when the two companies saw one another, the companions of Moses said, “Indeed, we are to be overtaken!” (Moses) said, “No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me”. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:61-62)

You are always close to Allah wherever you may be; do not despair in the mercy of Allah even if you have shortcomings. Turn to him and ask him for forgiveness for your sins as Allah the Exalted loves those who seek repentance and the door to repentance is open and your Lord is Oft-forgiving.

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The article is excerpted from the book “A Beneficial Summary of Rulings for New Muslim”, published by The Ministry of Endowments & Islamic Affairs, Kuwait- 2nd Edition 1436/2015.

 

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When Hardship Afflicts A Believer…

When in any difficulty or hardship, what should the believer do, and how should he/she deal with it?

Prophet Ayyub (Job, may Allah have mercy on him) had fourteen children, and he had great health and wealth. Everybody loved him.

And one day, after eighty years, Allah took away all of his 14 children, one by one, then he took away his wealth, then his health until his skin started to fall off his body that you could see his muscles and bones. And he is still alive, breathing.

Not only that, the people began to say if this man had been a good person, Allah wouldn’t have done this to him.

In the midst of his severe affliction, what did he say? What did he ask God for, and how did he address Him (Exalted be He)?

And Ayyub (Job), when he cried to his Lord, (saying): Harm has afflicted me, and You art the most Merciful of the merciful. Therefore, We responded to him and took off what harm he had, and We gave him his family and the like of them with them: a mercy from Us and a reminder to the worshippers. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:82-83)

In the video below Ustadh Bilal Assad reflects on Prophet Ayyub’s affliction as an example and lesson on what may a believer face in life and how to face it …

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Source:  LoveAllah328 Youtube Channel

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