Repenting from sin

Assalam alaykum wa rahmatullah
Dear questioner,
May Allah bless you and increase you in good.
Repentance
A Muslim who commits sins and afterward repents by meeting the conditions of repentance has repented. That is the minimum that is required. However, adab or etiquette requires that we should repent for all our shortcomings and wrong actions continuously.
Allah says, “Surely Allah loves those who always turn to Him in repentance and those who purify themselves.” [Quran 2:222]
Have a good opinion of Allah
One should believe that Allah forgave you when you repented; that is from having a good opinion of Allah.
The Prophet ( peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.'”
[Bukhari]
As your question correctly assumed, frequently repenting is from the etiquette of every good believer; likewise, frequently supplicating is also from excellence.
Remember Allah after prayers.
After every prayer, you are encouraged to repent and intend to be the most excellent servant. There is a beautiful hadith that teaches us in extension to what the Prophet told Mu’adh.
Mu’adh (Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) took hold of my hand and said, “O Mu’adh! By Allah I love you, so I advise you never to forget to recite after every prayer:

   اللَّهُمَّ أَعِنِّيْ عَلَى ذِكْرِكَ وَشُكْرِكَ وَحُسْنِ عِبَادَتِكَ

“O Allah, help me remember You, to be grateful to You, and to worship You excellently.” [Abu Dawud]
May Allah grant us all a constant state of turning in repentance to Allah.
[Imam] Yama Niazi

How Can One Deepen Their Presence in Dhikr?

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
Assalamu ‘Alaykum Dear Brother/Sister in Faith,
This is a beautiful question and indicates a level of understanding. We pray that through the following answer, that Allah would “complete our light and forgive us” [Quran 66:8]  Amīn.
The Greatest Gift 
Presence is the greatest of Divine Gifts.  However, we must orient ourselves to understand that the source of Presence is not ourselves, but rather Him — Allah.

“Acts of obedience allow you to enter Paradise, but etiquette (adab) allows you to enter the Divine Presence.” [Sha’rani, Tabaqat al-Kubra]
Thus, the more it dawns upon one that they are utterly powerless to be admitted into the Divine Presence and that it is entirely a Favor that Allah bestows upon those whom He loves, will one begin to partake of that sweetest Companionship.
Remembrance 
Remembrance (dhikr) is the heartbeat, the breath of the spiritual soul, the energy of the spiritual body, and the lamp of the spiritual mind.
Presence, then, is like the lifeblood of our existence.  It is always there, but we may or may not sense it. That is why, when Allah truly loves someone and wills to draw them near(er), He might cause them to bleed, to remind them that He “is closer to him than his jugular vein” [Quran 50:16]
The true reality of dhikr is that it pervades not only the moments of mention but every aspect of our lives.
Remembrance draws one from the name to the Named, not by the utterance, but by the attitude (adab) one breaths into every action, thought, and inclination.
The First Adab
Abundance is key.  Allah consistently commands us to remember Him much.

“O you who believe, remember Allah an abundant remembrance” [Quran 33:42]
In fact, this is a distinguishing characteristic between true believers and hypocrites.

“The hypocrites try to deceive God, but it is He who causes them to be deceived. When they stand up to pray, they do so sluggishly, showing off in front of people, and remember God only a little” [Quran 4:142]
The Second Adab 
Constancy is key. The time and place for dhikr are always and everywhere.

“The Messenger of Allah used to remember Allah in all states.”

[Muslim, Chapter on Menses]
Commentators have differed on the purport of this hadith and others, which indicates the obligation to remember Allah constantly. Some of the sahaba and salaf (May Allah be well pleased with them) – such as Ibn Umar, Ibn Sirin, and Ibrahim an-Nakha’i – espouse that the report in general, encompassing all states without exception, even when using the restroom and being in a state of major ritual impurity due to marital relations (janaba). On the other hand, Ibn Abbas, ‘Ata,’ and Sha’bi considered this to be disliked (makruh).
Perhaps the best and most comprehensive position on this matter is that of Ibn al-Qayyim,

“The remembrance of every state is in accordance to what suits it. Thus [in such states], what is most befitting is to cloth one’s self in the garb of modesty (haya’) with Allah, exalting Him, and recalling His favor and blessing upon one through the removal of harmful substances from the body that, if left unreleased, would kill him” [Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Wabil as-Sayyib 96]
Through this, we come to understand that dhikr is not an utterance but an attitude.
The Third Adab
Remember Allah with your heart, your tongue, and your limbs. This will bring presence to all that you do.
The dhikr of the heart reflects the signs of Allah in the creation and the recalling of His innumerable blessings, inward and outward. Allah describes the people of this form of dhikr in the following manner,
“those who remember God standing, sitting, and lying down, who reflect on the creation of the heavens and earth: ‘Our Lord! You have not created all this without purpose- You are far above that!- so protect us from the torment of the Fire.” [Quran 3:191]
In fact, some of the salaf preferred the dhikr of the heart in an awakened state over the dhikr of the tongue in a state of heedlessness. Ibn Abbas is reported to have said,

“Two short units of prayer with reflection are better than a full night of vigil while the heart is absent.” [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]
Then, do the dhikr of the heart and tongue culminate on the limbs? Sa’id ibn Jubayr is reported to have said,

“Dhikr is the obedience of Allah. So one who does not obey Allah has not remembered Him, even if he were to abundantly repeat tasbih, tahlil, and recitation of the Quran. [Tafsir at-Qurtubi]
 
In Conclusion 
This is a very brief answer. The Quran, Sunna, and books of tasawwuf (spirituality) are replete with those etiquettes that prepare us to have some chance at being admitted into the Divine Presence.

So, in faith, my dear brother and sister, when you are blessed with this Great Gift, and you can feel it, and taste it, and it envelops you from every direction and causes your tears to flow, then please remember us in your prayers.

May Allāh’s infinite peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah and his folk.

Allah, Most High, knows best.
[Ustadha] Iman
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Doing deeds for Allah

Assalam alaykum wa rahmatullah
Dear questioner,
May Allah bless you and increase you in good.
Sincerity
Sincerity is essential and a condition for deeds to be accepted by Allah.
” Though all they are ordered to do is worship God alone, sincerely devoting their religion to Him as people of true faith” [Quran 98:5]
Advice
When you begin any action, intend to do that for the sake of Allah. Afterward, if any thoughts come that this is not for Allah or that your good deed lacks proper intention and starts it again, avoid it. That is most likely from the devil attempting to tire you so you can leave good deeds altogether.
You do not need to repeat such deeds. Rather, try to keep good company and have a schedule to learn Islamic law (fiqh), which will help you determine which good deeds may need to be repeated.
One of the great West African scholars, Muhammad Mawlud recommends the following for attaining sincerity when one has thoughts of ostentation;
(1.) Recite surat al Ikhlas 3 times. (2.) recite dua sayyidi istighfar (3.) recite the following dua 3 times in the morning and evening
اللهمَّ إني أعوذُ بك أنْ أُشرِكَ بك و أنا أعلمُ ، و أستغفرُك لما لا أعلمُ
See the following links, which are also beneficial for further reading.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Islam and Shahada

Dear questioner,
May Allah bless you and increase you in good.
Islam and Shahada
A person should accept Islam because it is the Truth. It is the only perfect and true religion. All other faiths and beliefs other than Islam are false.
“Whoever seeks a way other than Islam, it will never be accepted from them, and in the Hereafter, they will be among the losers.” [Quran 3:85]
There are different reasons or factors which lead a person to become Muslim. The intention in all of them is good if it leads them to enter Islam. The ultimate purpose and goal of a human being on earth are to recognize and know its creator. Allah Most High says,
“I did not create jinn and humans except to worship Me.” [Quran 51:56]
Whatever leads a person to this faith, that is what is important.
That is a blessing from Allah, and it requires gratitude on their part.
[Imam] Yama Niazi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is It Right That I Trump All My Discussions With My Wife by Saying “I Am the Husband!”?

Question: I’m a married man. I admit to being fearful of falling into the trap of modern-day feminism where manhood and masculinity are criticized. In an attempt to uphold my status, authority, and/or power as a husband, it has come to my attention that I constantly use the “I am your husband” card on my wife even for simple matters, suggestions, discussions that she proposes. She has expressed her hurt and discomfort with this, but I insist on establishing boundaries and limits as the decision-maker.

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question.

The trump card

I feel that you are a heartfelt person and self-confident, but I must tell you that nothing shows confidence more than a merciful man. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was the king of humanity, and he never once used his rank for decision-making with his Companions. Rather he consulted them, trusted them, and made them all feel important and worthy. Please see these links to see how he was viewed as a companion and husband:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNU5dmKs68c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY5eZtrTMi4

Love of leadership

One of the spiritual diseases of the heart is the love of leadership (hubb al-riyasah), and we, as Muslims, are not just obliged to imitate the Prophet; may Allah bless him and grant him peace in his word and deed, but also his spiritual states. One should strive to prevent this spiritual sin from entering the heart and take one’s position with mercy and kindness and not boast it or flaunt it in the face of one’s dependents. It’s lowly, ugly, and unbecoming of good character.

Establish boundaries

You insist that you establish boundaries, but I guarantee you that the boundaries are already established. A man does not need to remind someone twice, and you would only need to re-iterate your rank if your wife is challenging it. I am certain that she is not. Rather, if your wife is an intelligent woman, she knows that two heads are better than one, and she wants to be a fruitful partner who can contribute to the family conversation. If your harshness continues, you will squash her self-confidence and creativity.

Manhood

Don’t fear the modern-day criticism of masculinity, rather strive toward being the type of man that the Prophet described, and make that your only standard. May Allah bless him and grant him peace. He said, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “The nobility of a man is in his religion, his manhood is in his intellect, and his honor is in his character.” [Musnad of Ahmad]

A Chinese saying

Please see this excellent article about the following saying: “The higher my rank, the more humbly I behave. The greater my power, the less I exercise it. The richer my wealth, the more I give away. Thus I avoid, respectively, envy and spite and misery.” [Sun Shu Ao (Chinese minister the Chu Kingdom, Zhou Dynasty, c.600BC.)]
https://adrenalinmartialarts.net/written-word-audio-video/2019/6/16/the-higher-my-rank-the-more-humbly-i-behave

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next, and may you be pleasing to the greatest Master of all, and you pleased with Him.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

 

Was It Sinful for Me To Think of My Friend in an Unbecoming Manner?

Question: I have a friend who follows a scholar who holds views that the Ulema disapproves of. I thought that this friend would question me about the age of Sayyidah Aisha, and I decided to respond by saying that Allah knows best. Then I feared that I thought of my friend in an unbecoming manner. Why did I think he would ask me that? And why did I prepare my response to him? Did I sin?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. It would be best if you did not fear your thoughts. There is nothing wrong with suspecting what he might ask you, and there is nothing wrong with preparing an answer. However, I encourage you to study your religion to the best of your ability and keep your mind focused on the remembrance of Allah, Most High.

Please see these links about thoughts and dhikr and the age of Sayyidah A’isha.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CxuLW8wN-Q
https://seekersguidance.org/show/138-rawha-daily-guidance-seekers/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/islamic-belief/types-thoughts-blasphemy-sin/
https://seekersguidance.org/tag/remembrance-of-allah/

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

 

Is It Unlawful That I Minimize Contact With My Relatives Who Constantly Ask My Family for Money?

Question: I live in the US, and my uncle lives in the Middle East with his family. I avoid talking to them because they abuse my family by constantly asking us for money for every single thing. We are not rich, but alhamdulillah we get by. I feel that they guilt-trip my family into sending them money all the time. For this reason, I avoid their phone calls as much as I can and talk briefly if necessary. Have I severed my bond with them, and will Allah curse me?
Answer:Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. You have not severed your ties with them, as long as you ensure to speak with them once in a while, even in the most minimal manner. If they ask you for money, ask them to speak to your parents because they control the funds.  See this link about maintaining ties of kinship:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThTswaaevbY

Grudges

With the 15th of Sha`ban have just passed, I am more worried about the grudge in your heart toward them than your family being used. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Nurse no grudge, nurse no aversion and do not sever ties of kinship and live like fellow-brothers as servants of Allah.“ [Muslim] I urge you to contemplate the following:

Need

Your parents may not be telling you the full story. Do you know exactly how poor they are? Do you know what they need the money for? What if they are asking sincerely and need help? Many people tend to have a wealthy image, even among their family and friends, when in reality, they are struggling privately.

Charity for next of kin

Charity within the family was encouraged by the Prophet; may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Zainab, the wife of Abdullah, said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘Will it be accepted as a charity on my part if I spend on my husband and the orphans in my care?‘ The Messenger of Allah said, ‘She will have two rewards, the reward for charity and the reward for upholding ties of kinship.‘” [Ibn Majah]

Your parents will not suffer, ever, from giving charity to their family. They will only reap reward, by the grace of Allah, and become more and more beloved in the eyes of their family. This is good for everyone.

No loss

It may be that your parents have the wealth and means to support themselves because they give in charity to family. A man never knows what good deed it is that pleases Allah the most, and it may be this very deed that has secured their own financial independence by Allah’s grace and pleasure.
When one gives in charity, one will never be in a position of loss, as charity only increases one’s wealth or keeps it the same. It does not decrease.

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “There are three things for which I swear and narrate to you about, so remember it.“ He said, “The wealth of a slave (of Allah) shall not be decreased by charity, no slave (of Allah) suffers injustice and is patient with it except that Allah adds to his honor; […] [Tirmidhi]

Avid

Be avid to give charity, so that Allah might include us with those of this verse, “Those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah and do not follow their charity with reminders of their generosity or hurtful words—they will get their reward from their Lord, and there will be no fear for them, nor will they grieve. [Qu’ran, 2:262]

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next with an endless bounty.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Can One Cover One’s Chest With Loose Clothing or Must the Hijab Be Drawn Down Over It?

Question: Is it required that women cover their chest area with the scarf they wear on their head? If so, to what extent? I am aware of the verse that says to cover the bosom with it, but can this be done with loose clothing? For example, a popular style nowadays would be a rectangle hijab wrapped around the head with one strand on one side of the chest and the other thrown back behind the shoulder.

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question.

Covering the chest

As you indicated in your question, it is a Quranic injunction covering one’s bosom or chest area with one’s khimar. Please see this link for full and explicit detail about the verse:
https://seekersguidance.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/unveiling-hijab-ebook.pdf

Fashion

As you have read from the link, a woman is commanded to cover her bosom with her head-covering, and fashion or popularity would not be a valid reason to ignore this. Women will always come up with eye-catching ways to don their hijab, and you should look into your heart about how you feel about that. If you incline to the meaning of this verse, and it feels right in your heart to draw your hijab down over your chest, then that is your taqwa (God-fearingness) speaking. Listen to that voice and ignore the latest Muslim fashionistas.

May Allah give you the best of both worlds, and may you don the finest silks and brocade in the highest Paradise.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

 

Chronologically Disqualified from the Islamic Eutopia

 

Question: Are all Muslim rulers and Muslim civilizations automatically discounted because they were after the period of the righteous caliphs?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

No, this is not the case. No one is automatically disqualified from any of Allah’s mercy and favor. A person, a ruler, and civilization only has recompense from Allah what they themselves did or didn’t do. Race, history, or circumstances do not cancel one out or forestall one.

Every Muslim ruler and every Muslim dynasty or civilization who strove (or now strives) to apply the Qur’an and Sunna is on the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). This is not restricted to time or place.

Furthermore, eutopia doesn’t exist. Just as there are demons and devils within the midst of the Muslims today, there were demons and devils in the time of the Prophetic Companions and the Early Muslims.

The many hadiths about the bad rulers who would come in the future are to be understood in general terms and were, for the most part, confirmed by history. But they do not mean that everyone ruler since the time of the Righteous Caliphs should be discounted as a mere “prince.”

Regarding the hadiths, Imam Ahmad narrates that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Prophecy will remain among you for however long Allah wishes for it to last, and then Allah will remove it when He wishes; then there will be a caliphate that will adhere to the Prophetic way for however long Allah wishes for it to last, and then Allah will remove it when He wishes; then there will be despotic monarchies for however long Allah wishes for it to last, and then Allah will remove them when He wishes; then there will be tyrannical rulers for however long Allah wishes for it to last, and then Allah will remove them when He wishes; then there will be a caliphate that will adhere to the Prophetic way.’

This hadith was deemed sound (hasan) by Shaykh Shu’ayb al-Arna’ut.

Imam Ahmad also narrates that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘The caliphate will last thirty years, and then there will be princes thereafter.’

Again this is a general trend that the Messenger of Allah drew for us. It doesn’t mean that there weren’t many good and righteous Muslim rulers after the period of the Righteous Caliphs and that there won’t be righteous Muslim rulers before the appearance of the Mahdi.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years, he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Legitimate Reasons to Speak Bad of Others

Question: Is complaining of being wronged to someone who cannot help one at all considered backbiting?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

Speaking bad of an individual to someone who cannot help one either stop that individual wronging him or help him personally deal with the problem is backbiting (ghiba) and is sinful.

For example, your manager said something offensive to you, so you tell everyone you know what he/she said. Does everyone you know need to know that? Is it essential that they all know that for this wrong to set aright? No, therefore, it is sinful.

However, if one brought it up with two people, both of whom may offer advice on how to deal with it, it is not backbiting.

(One should also conceal the person’s identity one is speaking badly about as much as practically possible. If the person whose help or advice you are seeking doesn’t need to know who this person is, they shouldn’t know.)

Importantly, there is a qualitative difference between ranting and trying to solve a problem. Ranting is done out of vengeance and anger, whereas trying to solve a problem is done to protect oneself or someone else, or (ideally) purely for the sake of Allah.

Ranting about an individual is sinful and constitutes backbiting. Trying to solve a problem is part of commanding the right and forbidding the wrong. The two, unfortunately, can easily become mixed. May Allah forgive us all!

Please see:
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/saving-our-souls-series-part-7-38-sins-of-the-tongue-shaykh-yusuf-weltch/
https://seekersguidance.org/show/31-content-of-character/
https://seekersguidance.org/courses/upright-speech-birgivi-on-holding-ones-tongue/
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/prophet-muhammad/imam-ghazali-guarding-tongue/

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years, he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.