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Why Worry About Children If We Know They Will Go to Paradise?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

If Abu Lahab, died when he was a child, then he would have gone to Paradise. Is that correct? Why should we help those children who are already suffering and dying, when if they die, they will go to Paradise and not be in risk of becoming disbelievers and going to Hell?

Answer:Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay. May Allah reward you for your question.

Destiny

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: “The Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: ‘The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive for that which will benefit you, seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless. If anything befalls you, do not say, “if only I had done such and such” rather say “Qaddara Allahu wa ma sha’a fa’ala (Allah has decreed and whatever He wills, He does).” For (saying) ‘If’ opens (the door) to the deeds of Satan.'” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

I encourage you to study about the attributes of Allah, and to better understand the concept of Divine Predestination. When registration reopens, please enrol in and complete Essentials of Islamic Belief: Dardir’s Kharida Explained.

Please calm your heart. Allah Most High is Merciful, and Just. Nobody enters Hellfire by mistake. Please do not torment yourself with ‘what if’s. Abu Lahab was destined to Hellfire, and nothing can change that. And unlike him, the rest of us do not know our fate. I pray that Allah has mercy on the ummah of the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) and may He grant us Jannah.

I encourage you to read these answers:

Overwhelmed and Confused in Trying to Understand and Practice Islam: What Can I Do?
Are All Non-Muslims Deemed “Kafir”?
What is the Fate of Non-Muslims in the Afterlife?
Do Good Non-Muslims and Bad Muslims Both Go to Hell?
Truth, Other Religions, and Mysticism – Shaykh Nuh Keller

Help

Anas bin Malik narrated that: “An older man came to talk to the Prophet, and the people were hesitant to make room for him. The Prophet said: “He is not one of us who does not have mercy on our young and does not respect our elders.” [Tirmidhi]

Your question is valid, and sincere. Allah calls us to respond to children from all backgrounds with compassion. When you see or know of a child who is suffering, the Prophetic response is to assist in ways that will bring benefit.

Should you find yourself in a situation with a dying child, then please exert your utmost to help. You do not know what Allah has in store this child. Perhaps she will embrace Islam, and be a tremendous means of good in this world. Perhaps she will not receive a true, undistorted message of Islam, and when she dies, Allah may grant her Divine amnesty.

You are not held responsible for the beliefs and actions of another adult. However, you will be held accountable if you permit an innocent child to die, even with the best of intentions.

Reward

‘Abd Allah b. Umar reported the prophet (May peace be upon him) as saying: “A Muslim is a Muslim’s brother: he does not wrong him or abandon him. If anyone cares for his brother’s need, Allah will care for his need; if anyone removes a Muslim’s anxiety, Allah will remove from him, on account of it, one of the anxieties of the Day of Resurrection; and if anyone conceals a Muslim’s fault, Allah will conceal his fault on the Day of resurrection.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]

Allah alone knows the tremendous reward for helping a child. Trust in His Mercy and Generosity, and work on purifying your intentions behind your deeds. Know that helping a child not only soothes her pain, but it also allays the grief of her parents, and other family members. InshaAllah there is a manifold reward for you.

Counselling

I am wondering if your questions are pointing to a deeper pain which you carry about your own childhood. I encourage you to speak to a culturally-sensitive counsellor to unpack this, and to help you move past it.

Expiation

Abu Sa’id and Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said:

“Never a believer is stricken with a discomfort, an illness, an anxiety, a grief or mental worry or even the pricking of a thorn but Allah will expiate his sins on account of his patience”. [Bukhari and Muslim].

Living in the dunya can be unbearably painful. It is tempting to believe that death as a child and then automatic entry into Jannah is the easiest way to escape this pain. However, look at it from the perspective of the Afterlife. All the pain that you patiently endure in this Dunya will inshaAllah be a means of expiation and spiritual elevation for you.

Support

Please seek the help that you need to help you cope with life. I recommend you to look into the resources provided by Hakim Archuletta, who specialises in healing trauma through our spiritual tradition and the work of Peter Levine.

Try your best to wake up in the last third of the night, even if it’s 10-15 minutes before the entry of Fajr, and perform the Prayer of Need. Ask Allah to grant you a sound heart, tranquility, and a deeper understanding of the deen. Endeavor to learn your personally obligatory knowledge so that your acts of worship are valid. SeekersGuidance has a range of wonderful online courses for you to learn from.

Mercy

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: When Allah decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by writing in His book which is laid down with Him: “My mercy prevails over my wrath.” [Bukhari]

Whenever you are faced with any trial in this dunya, please don’t despair in Allah’s Mercy. When you see others being tested, know that there is a hidden mercy even in pain. We were created for Him, in the end, and difficulty is a reminder to seek comfort in Him.

Allah loves you, and knows the deepest contents of your heart. I pray that He grants you contentment, wisdom, and the ability to have a good opinion of Him.

Please see:

Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersGuidance Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

What Is the Merit of Dying on a Friday? [Video]

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What is the merit of dying on a Friday?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

On Death and Dying, by Ustadh Salman Younas

With the current year drawing to a close, social media has come alight repeatedly with news of the passing of yet another celebrity. Ustadh Salman Younas shares some personal thoughts on an inevitable journey all of us will embark upon: death.

I have seen many people in my wider circle of friends/acquaintances express how death has seemed so much closer to us this year than previous ones. We have witnessed the passing of many a parent, teacher, sibling, friend, and child. Some of us directly suffered these losses; others suffered through seeing these losses endured by people they knew, such as friends; yet, other losses were so global and impactful that all of us were effected by them.
I was never particularly fearful of death until my daughter was born. After her birth, the fear kicked in. It was in most ways a worldly fear. I wanted to see my little one take her first steps, speak her first words, start school, become a rebellious teenager, go to college, and have a family. I wanted to live to see my child grow.
This all changed after my father passed away. I remember standing with some of my close friends after a Quran recital telling them about how the birth of my daughter led to an increased fear of death on my part. But my attitude had changed now. I knew my father had moved into another room that was out of my sight. But I was no longer afraid to have the door to that room opened for me because I knew that he would be there. It was the first time in a long time that I was not afraid to leave the room my daughter was in for the room my father had gone too.
[cwa id=’cta’]

The Fear Factor

This taught me an important lesson. We often understand death in negative terms: we will be questioned, there is a thing called Hell, God will take us to account for everything, and so forth. The motivating factor in death for many is the fear factor. This is important, of course. Yet, the passing of my father taught me that it is also a motivator because of a love factor, a love and desire for reunion.
This was the perspective of Fatima (God be well-pleased with her). When the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was in his final illness “he said something secretly to Fatima and she wept. Then he said something secretly to her and she laughed.” [Bukhari] When asked later why she wept, she said it was because the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was moving to the next life. But when asked what made her smile, it was because she was told that she would join him in Paradise.
This was the perspective of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). In one of his final sermons, he mentioned how “God had given a slave the choice between immortality in this world or meeting his Lord, and he had chosen to meet his Lord.” He was speaking about himself. His last words according to A’isha were, “to the highest Companion!” He had chosen to move on and unite with God. [Bukhari]

A Beautiful Union

To all of my brothers and sisters who have lost someone, to those saddened by separation, and to those still grieving, do not forget the union that death brings. A union with a merciful and compassionate Lord. A union with a most beautiful and perfect Prophet who will not cease pleading to God until each and every one of his followers is in Paradise with him.
Remember that your loved ones from this community wait for you, and that you have the opportunity to be with them in a place where time has ceased, where there will be no separation, nor grief, nor sadness, nor pain. It is a place where all of you can be together in utter bliss, love, and happiness.
This is the hope and trust we place in our Lord. This is why we worship and engage in righteousness: so we can reunite with those whom we love – God, His Prophet, our parents, children, siblings, friends, and others. So, do not despair, do not lose sight of the bigger picture, and make your life a road to reunion.
We ask God to renuite us in the eternal garden with those we love in the company of our Prophet (blessings upon him) and all the righteous.

Keeping Aleppo In Perspective, and How To Respond, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The horrific news and images coming out of Aleppo, Syria has left the world stunned. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani offers some sobering perspective on how we should process these traumatising event and how we should respond.

If There Was No Life After Death Would Religion Be Meaningless?

Answered by Ustadh Sharif Rosen

Question: Assalam alaykum

If there was no life after death would religion be meaningless?

Answer: as-Salamu ‘alaykum.

Jazakum Allah khayran for your question.

Religion remains ever vital to the human experience, even apart from considering the afterlife. With respect to Islam, in particular, its enduring relevance owes not only to its aim of directing us towards the Creator of the heavens and the earth, but also, crucially, to its provision of a framework for discovering a life imbued with balance, wisdom and meaning. As Allah says, “To whoever, male or female, does good deeds and has faith, We shall give a good life and reward them according to the best of their actions” [Qur’an 16:97]. While no shortage of opinions has ever existed on what the “good life” consists of, or how it is attained, revealed scripture offers us the soundest criteria by which the moral and spiritual degrees can be known, that is, the very means towards the promised good life — in the one to come, but certainly in the present as well.

Here, the reason for the arrival of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, becomes clearer; he manifests the divine Mercy in sending humanity an exemplar who teaches and models excellence, the benefits of which we are called to experience in our personal lives, homes and communities. Centuries of rigorous preservation and refinement of our understanding of the prophetic teachings attest to the need to look to his example for the moment-to-moment insights that help us to deepen our embodiment of God-conscious living. And make no mistake, living as such is needed with urgency now, as the absence of prophetic virtues in our societies has always corresponded directly to the ascendance of injustice, hatred, unspeakable violence and incivility. Thus, when we incline towards the vision and method of the Chosen One, Allah bless him and give him peace — who Allah says was “Only sent as a mercy to all the worlds” [Qur’an 21:107] — we realize the height of human possibilities in this life — before we step across the threshold into the unseen.

And Allah knows best.

wa-Salamu ‘alaykum.

[Ustadh] Sharif Rosen

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Sharif Rosen is the Muslim Chaplain at Williams College (in the Northeastern United States) where he works to enhance campus life through spiritual and pastoral care; advocacy and coalition building; and deepening mutual understanding within and between communities.  His formative Islamic studies, past and ongoing, have been at the hands of scholars connected via unbroken transmission to the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings.  Most of Sharif’s training occurred in Amman, Jordan from 2008 – 2013, with a focus on creed, ritual law, spirituality, Quranic recitation and exegesis and through which he has received permission to transmit his Islamic learning.  Sharif has a B.A. in History from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and is now completing his graduate studies.  He completed the Classical Arabic program at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, where he was also the Director of Student Life.  He currently serves as the Vice President for Educational Chaplaincy with the U.S.-based Association of Muslim Chaplains.

Muslim Convert: Is Islam Just an Arabian Faith?

Yusuf, a Hindu from the UK, lost a beloved uncle in tragic circumstances at the young age of 15. This led him to contemplate the impermanence of life. He started reading about other faiths and their beliefs about death and the Hereafter.

His little understanding of Islam Muslim convertgarnered through stories in the Reader’s Digest led him to believe Islam was violent, oppressive and an Arabian religion. But in the Quran, he found the opposite.Muslim convert

Still, he was a Brahmin Hindu; he could never be Muslim. However, that’s not what his heart was telling him. He converted to Islam at the age of 15 years old and found that he had finally come home. Watch on to learn more about Yusuf’s conversion to Islam.

Resources for Seekers

How Long Should One Wait to Get Married After a Death in the Family?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu,

Is there any ruling on how long to wait before having a celebration (such as getting married) after a death in the family?

Answer: Wa alaykum asalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu

Marriage with the correct intention is a noble act of worship. May Allah facilitate this major step in your life and make it means for you and your future spouse to gain closeness to Allah.

With the exception of a widow, there is no waiting period for marriage after the passing of a relative in the Sacred Law. There are narrations from some of the companions and pious predecessors who married shortly after and, at times, the same day of the passing of their wives. It would thus be permissible for you to marry even prior to the passing of 40 days.

Nonetheless, in sensitive situations such as these, one should not merely be in search of what is permissible. Rather, the feelings and emotions of close family should be considered. As far as possible, try to get the approval of those close to you or practice patience for a short while. Don’t jeopardize such family ties only to have the wedding take place five weeks earlier.

And Allah knows best
Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

On the Journey through the Grave, by Shaykh Samir al-Nass

Death and the afterlife is something extremely difficult to think about, not because it’s a fearful subject but because it’s so hard to imagine the journey through the afterlife. In this world, we are connected to the people around us. However, after death, we will be cut off from everyone around us. Listen to Shaykh Samir al-Nass talk about the soul’s journey through the grave and afterlife.

We are grateful to the Ha Meem Foundation for this recording.

Resources for Seekers

How Do I Deal With the Fear of Dying as an Unbeliever?

Answered by Shaykh Salim Ahmad Mauladdawila

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am worried of having a bad end, of dying as an unbeliever.

How can I deal with this fear?

Answer: Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

Concern for one’s end is itself a good sign, but the Muslim should always balance themself between being fearful of God’s wrath and punishment and hoping for his mercy and bounties. As some of the pious say, the believer is like a bird which flies with two wings: the wing of hope and the wing of fear. With only one wing, the bird cannot fly.

God himself indicates this need for balance in the Quran, where he says to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), “Tell My slaves that I am All-forgiving and All-merciful, and that My punishment is a painful one” [15:49-50]. He also says, “Know that God is stern in His retribution and He is All-forgiving and All-merciful” [5:98], and later describes Himself as “Forgiver of sin, accepting of repentance, severe in punishment, owner of abundance” [40:3].

When we find ourselves perhaps getting a little lax in in our obligatory duties, we remind ourselves of God’s warnings in the Quran. We remember the torture in the grave and the vivid descriptions of Hell. If we find ourselves despairing, we remind ourselves of our Lord’s mercy. We remember the hadith of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) narrated by Imam al-Bukhari, where God says “Verily My mercy overcomes My anger”. We remember the hadith, “All children of Adam are wrongdoers, and the best of the wrongdoers are those who repent”, and we contemplate God’s words, “O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of God. Indeed, God forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful” [39:53].

We should also constantly ask God that he grant us a good end, as we find many of the pious do and have done. We should make this prayer regularly and keep in mind the hadith qudsi where God says, “I am as my slave thinks I am, and I am with him if he remembers Me. If he remembers Me within Himself, I remember him within Myself. If he remembers Me in a group, I remember him in a better group. If he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him. If he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him. If he comes to Me walking, I go to him running”.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Salim Ahmad Mauladdawila

The Story of Abdul Razzaq and Abdul Ghani, by Novid Shaid

Writer and poet, Novid Shaid, weaves a tale of two men who led very different lives with what they were granted by Allah.

There were once two men: Abdul Razzaq and Abdul Ghani.
Abdul Razzaq was a faithful man, who was very resourceful, with a talent for acquiring wealth. By the age of forty, he had paid off the mortgages of three properties, rented them out and his portfolio continued to grow promisingly.
He spent on local projects and was always generous to the mosque and community. When his daughters got married, he gave each of them lavish send offs, inviting the whole community and ensuring everyone left the hall with a satisfied smile on their faces. His wife was always cheerful and regularly invited the local ladies around her luxuriant house to read Quran and send blessings on the Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace. This house was always blessed with the pitter-patter of his daughters’ children, with guests from Pakistan, with local dignitaries and businessmen.
The only thing they seemed to lack was sons. But both husband and wife were grateful for what Allah had given them and inwardly they were content. When the couple passed on, it was noticed that a hint of a smile appeared on their faces and people reported that they had heard the shahadah (testimony of faith) from their lips. Thereafter, Abdul Razzaq was lauded and remembered as an exceptional individual, who had lived the best life possible, rich in this world and rich in the next world.
Abdul Ghani was a contemporary of Abdul Razzaq, who lived some two miles away from Razzaq’s spacious, detached property on the outskirts of town. Incidentally, the two men were frequently seen standing next to each other in the congregational prayers at the mosque. But unlike Razzaq, Abdul Ghani had struggled to make ends meet throughout his life, with jobs in factories, two of which had laid him off, and taxi jobs. He had never been clever enough to multiply his wealth and, for decades and decades, he had to graft just to subsist.
His worldly possessions did not amount to much: a terraced house in a cramped area of town and an old people carrier which doubled up as a taxi. His only child and son, Hasan, inherited his dad’s artlessness and did not amount to much at school, ending up working in the local supermarket. Hasan was wedded off in Abdul Ghani’s ancestral village in Kashmir and it took Hasan and his father several years of hard work to bring the bride to England. Mrs Ghani was a simple woman who seldom complained and phlegmatically moved to each phase of her life, enshrouded in her white chadour and her few friends, whom she would call to her house from time to time.
And that’s how Ghani lived, until old age took him and his wife. Fate had it that the next available space in the local graveyard was next to Abdul Razzaq. So there the two graves stood: Abdul Razzaq’s marble gravestone, inscribed with exquisite calligraphy and Abdul Ghani’s cheap and cheerful piece with the plain inscription from the Quran: “From Allah did we come and to Him we will return”.
One day, after a burial nearby, two old acquaintances of Razzaq stood before these two graves.
“Our friend, Abdul Razzaq. What a man! So generous, such a good Muslim. Masha Allah, he had been blessed with such wealth and I will never forget that smile on his face when he passed on.”
The other looked at Abdul Ghani’s grave: “Abdul Ghani… Poor man, he worked so hard…”
That night, these two men saw some familiar faces in their dreams. The first man saw Abdul Razzaq with a face radiant and pure, but there seemed to be a weight on his back.
“How is it with you Abdul Razzaq?”
“Life is blessed,” replied Abdul Razzaq, “this world is better than yours, but all the wealth that I did not use for His pleasure has become a burden on my back.”
The other man saw Abdul Ghani, enlightened, princely, ennobled.
“How is it with you Abdul Ghani?”
“In the dunya, I was nobody. No one thought of me much or praised my name. But every penny I had, I spent for His sake, and when everyone was asleep, I used to wake up and praise His name. Now the angels visit me in a lush garden filled with exquisite fruit. His sincere remembrance has the highest value here, and money… Money means nothing here, except what was for Allah…”
[cwa id=’cta’]

Resources for seekers