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A Poem for Personal Problems – Novid Shaid

A Poem for Personal Problems

 

One day I awoke

Aching head and broke

Someone shaking me

Cursing deafeningly:

 

“Time to get angry!

Irascibility!

 

You’ve been hurt and tricked!

People take the mick!

You don’t deserve this!

So, give them all a miss!

 

Time to feel despair!

Your life has no repair!

 

Double-dealing spouse!

Children wreck your house! 

Relatives are war!

And friends just make you poor!

 

Devils in their blood!

They drag you in the mud!

 

Not enough money!

This is not funny!

Others get the breaks!

But your problems just bake…

 

Allah hates your face!

You’re such a big disgrace!

 

Might as well give up

You’ll never have the luck

Prayer is just pointless

Your life is just a mess…

 

Might as well end it…

Do it and do be quick!”

 

I arose provoked

By the one who spoke

Devil with a key

With which he’d made entry

 

In my house he came!

My discontent his game!

 

Then I wept, praying

To the Only King

Send me some relief!

From all this pain and grief!

 

Give me harmony!

Through Mustafa’s bounty!

 

Suddenly, a wind

Subtle, sweet and thin

Irresistible

It soothed all my troubles

 

And the devil screamed!

It tumbled in the breeze!

 

Flying out the door

Devil cried and swore

I replaced the lock

And let the wind unblock

 

All the hurt within

Flew out upon the wind!

 

Then I read and prayed

Crying out His name

Clearing up my rooms

So, Presence could imbue

 

When my house was clear

The Lights said: “There’s no fear,”

 

He is always there

He is ever near

Troubles still arise

But the Lights galvanise!

 

“There’s no fear nor grief

Allah is the relief!”

 

By Novid Shaid, 2019

www.novid.co.uk

I Struggle with Thoughts of Disbelief and Suicide

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil is asked about despair and contemplating suicide from being a lone Muslim.

I struggle with thoughts of disbelief and suicide. I have non-Muslim family members and feel so guilty when I spend time with them during Christmas and so on. I feel ashamed about telling them I am Muslim, because of ISIS.

I have so much uncontrolled anger because I am overwhelmed by my problems. Sometimes I wish I was not brought into existence. I wish for new type of prayer because I’ve been humiliated badly in grade 7, and whenever I want to pray, my mind starts to flashback and then I start to feel shy, embarrassed and then I stop praying,

Can I meet the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and ask him to reverse time? I have so many regrets. My grandfather died a Christian and I am so sad.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.

Suicidal Thoughts

Dear questioner, you sound like you are in a tremendous amount of pain.

Do you have a plan to end your life? If so, I urge you to please seek professional help. At a very minimum, please contact a suicide or mental health hotline in your locality. You need to speak to someone compassionate, to help you break the cycle of despair in your mind.

Thoughts of Disbelief

It may be useful for you to seek out culturally-sensitive counseling to help you manage and eventually overcome these thoughts which plague you.

Please continue a daily litany of repentance and other duas to help protect you from these thoughts: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long.

Please refer to these links to help start your journey towards healing:

Getting Therapy for Irreligious Thoughts
Having Seriously Evil Thoughts
Types of Thought, Blasphemy, and Sin

Uncontrolled Anger

Please read this resource about the Anger Iceberg. You are lugging around so much unresolved pain, which contributes to you feeling so triggered, so often. When you start to release that pain, then will slowly feel less angry.

I encourage you to try some calming meditations, specifically, Islamic Meditations by Shaykh Muhammad Mendes.

Prayer

I am so sorry that you were so shamed for praying in public while you were in Grade 7. May Allah help you heal from this, and increase you in reward for your struggles.

There is no way for prayer to be changed, but perhaps there are ways you can find a private, secure place to pray. Could you speak to your school counsellor about what happened, and ask him/her to facilitate a safe place for you to pray?

Past Trauma

I urge you to contact Sidi Zuhair Girash of Aafiyah Healing. He is a compassionate and wise Muslim holistic healer who can help you, insha Allah. He can help you loosen the grip of your past trauma, and help you live more easily in the present moment.

It sounds like beneath your anger lies deep feelings of shame, powerlessness and sadness. There are ways to overcome this, with the right help.

Reversal of Time

Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Sura al-Furqan, 25:70)

A wise high school teacher told me once that instead of a “rewind” button for life, Allah gave us something better – He gives us the gift of repentance. Please know that Allah can transform all of your bad deeds into good deeds.

No matter what happened in your past, know that Allah’s Mercy is greater than that. He loves you, even with all of your imperfections.

Non-Muslim Family Members in Hellfire

Only Allah knows where any of us end up in the Afterlife. Because you are already in a troubled mental state, I urge you not to dwell on the fate of your grandfather.

Trust in the Mercy of your Creator. It is not difficult for Allah to have created belief in your grandfather’s heart, before he passed away, for example.

Please seek comfort from this: How to Deal With a Non-Muslim Relative’s Death.

Christmas and Other Festivals

Please know that because you have non-Muslim family members, then it is very important for you to be part of their lives, and attend their festivals. Please attend the social aspects of these gatherings and avoid the religious components, as best as you can.

Please seek comfort from these answers Is Christmas Haram? Being Muslim in a Non-Muslim Family and Partaking in a Thanksgiving Dinner: Permitted or Not?

Meeting The Prophet, Peace and Blessings be upon Him

Narrated Anas, may Allah be pleased with him: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever has seen me in a dream, then no doubt, he has seen me, for Satan cannot imitate my shape.’ (Bukhari)

One interpretation of this is that one will see him in this life in one’s waking state. (Fath al-Bari)

I pray that you do see the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, in a dream. Know that his heart is connected to yours, he feels your deepest acutely, and he is making dua for you. I encourage you to be open to the winds of mercy from God, even if they do not fit your current rigid concept. Rigidity comes from fear and pain – you have endured a huge amount of suffering. Flexibility and openness comes from surrender.

I pray that Allah eases your terrible burden of pain. Please know that you will will feel better, some day soon. It will not always hurt this much. Please choose to keep alive, so that one day, you will look back at your younger self with compassion and love.

You may not believe me right now, but because you have endured so much, you will be able to offer so much comfort to other broken-hearted souls.

Please write back if you need any more help.

Please also see A Reader on the Problem of Evil, Suffering, Destiny, and Allah’s Mercy and A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah.

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Contemplating Suicide Because No One Will Marry Me

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil answers a question on how to deal with suicidal thoughts and feeling despair about not being able to find a marriage partner.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray five times a day but feel like my life is coming to an end. Allah has not given me height, good looks, or wealth. I know that those who kill themselves are punished in Hellfire forever, but I am already going to hell because I am not a good Muslim anyway. Why am I suffering like this? I have been rejected so many times for marriage, and have given up on marriage because I am only 5 foot 4. I see only two options: kill myself or cut myself off from everyone I know like my family, and this world. Please help me.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us during your time of crisis.

Dealing with Thoughts of Suicide

Dear questioner, I cannot imagine the amount of pain you must be in right now. The fact that you are contemplating suicide shows me how overwhelmed you feel. It sounds like you have tried everything to make things better, but nothing is working. and you feeling that ending your life is the only way to release you from pain.

Do you have a plan as to how you wish to end your life? If so, I urge you to seek professional help. Please look up a suicide hotline in your locality and call them immediately.

If you do not have a plan, then please, consider the possibility that there is a way for you to feel better. You have listed only two ways forward, but there is a third option. You can only access the problem-solving part of your brain when you move out of your current state of fight or flight.

Allah’s Love For You

It was narrated from Mus’ab ibn Sa’d that his father, Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas, said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah , peace and blessings be upon him, which people are most severely tested?’ He said: ‘The Prophets, then the next best, and then the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he is steadfast in his religious commitment, he will be tested more severely, and if he is frail in his religious commitment, his test will be according to his commitment. Trials will continue to afflict a person until they leave him on the earth with no sin on him.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Dear questioner, please know that Allah tests those whom He loves, and the depth of your trials indicate to me how much Allah loves you. You probably do not believe me, but please know this to be true.

Love, especially Divine Love, does not mean getting everything you want. Sometimes, it is often an act of love to withhold. It is easy to forget sometimes, but we were not created to marry. We were created to worship Allah, and submit to His Decree even if – especially if — what He wants for us does not align with what we want for us.

Know that Shaytan is the one who despaired, and he wants you to despair too. Do not fall for his lies. None of us know whether we are destined for Hellfire or Paradise. That is why we strive, and have a good opinion of Allah.

Source Of Your Pain

Please know that the true source of your pain is disconnection from yourself, and disconnection from Allah. When you remedy these disconnections, then only then can you find lasting relief.

Self-soothe First, Counsel Next

When you are physiologically flooded, nothing I say to you will calm you down. You need to work on soothing yourself first.

What helps you relax? Does listening to Qur’an help? Nature sounds? Going for a walk? I recommend guided meditations from apps such as Calm and Headspace. Find your breath, and be connected to it. Imagine breathing in relaxation, and breathing out your pain. Being in nature is also very calming, so I recommend that too.

The deepest healing lies with dhikr and dua. I recommend that you consult with Aafiyah Healing as soon as you can. In the meantime, pour your sorrow out in dua: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long.

Perspective

Perfectionism is a lie the world teaches us. So many of us believe that if we were only more attractive, more successful, more charming – anything – then we would finally get what we long for.

It sounds like you believe that the reason you are not married is because you are not tall and handsome. I invite you to consider this possibility: perhaps you are not married yet because Allah, All-Knowing, knows that you are not ready.

Marriage, and then child-rearing, is both blissful and difficult. I encourage you to learn better self-soothing and emotional regulation skills before you become a husband and a father. Too many men around the world unleash their unhappiness and anger upon their wives and children, causing them great trauma.

The greatest gift you can present your future wife and children is this – good character. Work on acceptance, contentment, gratitude, forgiveness, and other Prophetic qualities.

Born without Arms or Legs

In the modern day context, I encourage you to reflect upon the life of Nick Vujicic, who was born with no arms and no legs. His story is a deeply moving one. After a failed suicide attempt at 10, he drew meaning from his great hardship, and now touches the lives of millions of people around the world. He is also married, and has four children.

If he had succeeded in ending his own life, he would have missed out on marrying his loving wife, and fathering his children. He is not Muslim, and Allah blesses Him with blessing upon blessing. What wonders lie in store for you?

Please, dear questioner, choose life. Choose to have a good opinion of Allah. Trust in His plan for you.

I pray that one day, you will be playing with your children, smiling at your wife, and that your terrible pain will be a long forgotten memory.

Please see A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered.

Wassalam,

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Magic, Loss, and Estrangement

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan answers a question about protecting oneself from black magic and how to overcome frustration and despair.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am writing this on my distressed colleague’s behalf.

Her life has been spoiled by her own estranged family. She is critically ill and homeless, stuck very badly and abandoned. She was orphaned very young.

She has been praying hard with no results at all. A few years ago she lost her soulmate because of these estranged people, fear of the same person she was about to settle with, and her sudden memory loss. An illness which she always had.

She feels someone did magic on her as all things go wrong repeatedly, and her estranged family won’t let her make a final decision by refusing to give her her share to meet her expenses for treatment and self, and so that she can start afresh.

It has been going on for a long time and she has been losing hair on head. She prayed hard but no results. She is very sincere. It is making her very frustrated and she is losing her mind and peace. Please advise.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Thank you for writing to us.

As an immediate suggestion, your friend may implement the following:

    1. 1. Sleep in a state of ablution.

 

    1. 2. Before going to bed, recite the verse of the footstool (Ayah al-Kursi), and the last three chapters of the Quran. Thereafter, blow into your hands and wipe over your body. This is a Prophetic method of protecting oneself from all evil.

 

    1. 3. Recite the chapter of the cow (Surah al-Baqarah) as often as possible, especially in the place of residence. If one cannot recite this chapter, then have it playing from a recorder.

 

    1. 4. Be punctual in reciting the

Wird al-Latif

    1. (The Subtle Litany) in the morning after Fajr and the

Ratib al-Haddad

    (the famous litany of Imam al-Haddad) before or after magrib.

If your friend continues performing these actions, her challenges will disappear with the will of Allah, the Mighty. If it persists, she may have to consult a Raqi (someone who specializes in the treatment of black magic).

May Allah protect you and her and remove challenges from both your paths, Amin.

Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Transcend This World – Imam Zaid Shakir

Imam Zaid Shakir expounds on the crises of despair in society, its impact on the Muslim community, and Islam as the cure for this disease.

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَابَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجًا

Our praises due to Allah who has revealed the scripture unto his servant and has made no crookedness therein. (Sura al Kahf 18:1)

Allah Most High has blessed us to live in interesting times, as they say. One of the characteristics of our time, speaking specifically of this land that we reside in, is the despair that we see. That despair can be measured by what collectively are referred to as the diseases of despair: drug addiction, alcoholism, suicide, depression.

In terms of drug addiction, just discarding other forms of drugs, every day in this country, there are 170 fatal overdoses from opioids alone – heroin, morphine, percocet, oxycontin – the whole family of opioids. One hundred and seventy.

Were it not for Narcan which revives overdose victims, maybe it would be eight hundred a day, because for every one who fatally overdoses seven or eight are revived who would otherwise fatally overdose.

The Ravages of Despair

There are 241 alcohol consumption related deaths every day in this country. Just consumption. Excluding alcohol-related deaths, most fatal fatalities from auto accidents, the majority are alcohol-related. Most killings in domestic violence are alcohol-related. Maybe not most. A large percentage. But excluding all of that, 241 who die from overconsumption of alcohol every day.

There are 123 suicides every day. Almost 4,000 suicide attempts every day, which means that there are far more, because a lot of suicide attempts aren’t reported to the authorities. Increasingly large numbers of our children who should be the most hopeful find themselves dead as a result of suicide. Diseases of despair.

You see Muslims increasingly falling into many of these categories which indicates two things. One is a ignorance of our religion, because one who has knowledge of this religion understands that this is the antidote to despair: the anti-despair medicine.

The other is weakness of faith, which means there might be knowledge of the religion, but that knowledge hasn’t penetrated to the depths of the heart, so that it affects the hearts in ways that insulate the individual from the ravages of despair.

Understanding of Religion

We should understand. Understanding is very important. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, says: “The one Allah desires good for, He gives him or her a sound understanding of the religion.” We can mention a balance of the hadith because it has benefit in it.

It was related from Mu‘awiya, Allah be pleased with him, who said, “The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, says: ‘The one Allah desires good for, He gives him or her a sound understanding of the religion. I dispense the Revelation, it is Allah who gives understanding.’”

So the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, gives it freely to everyone but Allah causes those seeds that he, Allah bless him and give him peace, spreads out to take root in some hearts. “And there will always remain from this community of believers a party, a group, who will establish their affair on the basis of the commandment of Allah.” (Bukhari)

What the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, is telling us is that understanding translates into action. The foundation of our action is establishing our affair on the commandment of Allah. People are rejecting their traditional religious teachings. As people increasingly turn to atheism and that’s part and parcel of the crisis of despair.

Atheism and Meaninglessness

There’s no coincidence that as atheism goes up suicide goes up, because atheism is telling a human being that you’re no different from this […] this minbar I’m standing on. You are no different than these walls. You’re no different than a fly. You’re no different then feces or urine. You’re just physical stuff.

If a human being comes to believe that he or she is just physical stuff, there’s no relationship to a higher power, there’s nothing to hope for beyond the demise of this physical body, why not commit suicide? Why not end it all? There’s nothing beyond this to hope for. That’s one of the reasons you see this upward trajectory.

The believers must hold on to the commandment of Allah. The believers must hold as lawful that which our Lord through his Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, has declared to be lawful. And the believer must maintain and hold on to what our Lord through his Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, directly from Revelation, which came through the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, or through his Sunna, have declared to be unlawful.

The lawful is unambiguously clear. The unlawful is unambiguously clear. Between those two are doubtful matters. Most people don’t know their rulings. There are people who want to make that which is unambiguously clear from the mutashabihat in terms of its lawfulness, and that which is unambiguously clear in terms of its unlawfulness, amongst the doubtful matters.

Adhere to The Book and The Sunna

Well, we need to reassess this. 1,400 years of Islam and scholarship from some of the most brilliant minds to ever walk this planet couldn’t figure out how Muslims are supposed to dress? 1,400 years of scholarship with clear unambiguous evidence, scriptural evidence, couldn’t figure out who Muslims should go to bed with?

We need to reassess? No, we need to adhere to the Book of Allah and the Sunna of his Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, and die upon that and pass it on to our descendants. If we do that, we’ve done our job. If we fail to do that, there’s going to be more suicides. There’s going to be more alcoholism. There’s going to be more drug overdoses, because people will be lost.

The prophets were sent to guide people. And this Umma, the scholars of this Umma are the heirs of the prophets. And their communities are the community of believers in this world. They will establish their affair on the commandment of Allah. They will not be harmed by those who oppose them until the command of Allah.

Some scholars say [the command] is the emergence of the dajjal. Some scholars say it is the wind that will blow at the end of time and take the souls of the believers. Most scholars say it is Doomsday. They won’t be harmed.

Hold on to Your Inheritance

Our task, brothers and sisters, if you want to be safe and you want to be sound, make sure you’re in that group. Ibn Hajar al Askalani says it could be one group in one place, but most likely it is many groups. There’s some here, there’s some there. Some in America. Some in Africa. There’s some in Asia. There’s some in Europe.

This is a source of mercy, not just for us but for the world. As we said, the world, this country and the world in general, is being besieged by despair and hopelessness. We are the people of hope. Not foolish optimism, but the people of Hope.

We are the people of prophetic guidance and prophetic guidance brings clarity. We are the people of mercy. One of the reasons a lot of Muslims are so downcast and gloom-struck in our day and times is because they believe the lives of people who profit from their being no source of hope for people.

There are people that profit from that and say, “Oh, you Muslims, you have no mercy and compassion in your heart.” And Muslims start believing that. You want to know no compassion? No compassion are people who would sell nine million narcotic pills in a small town in Appalachia.

The Invention of Falsehoods

Prescribe nine million knowing this is going to addicting entire population. Where is the mercy in that? Then the people are dropping like flies from overdoses. Where is the mercy in that? Where is the mercy in fabricating enemies for the sole purpose of feeding a war machine that’s financed by 700 billion dollars of our tax money to keep the factories making bombs?

Inventing enemies in this country to keep this a machine of Islamic hate going. They’re stealth jihad. They’re taking over. Taking over what? “The Muslim Brotherhood’s taking over Congress and the Senate and our institutions.” Well, they’re doing a terrible job. there are 535 congressmen and 100 senators; 435 representatives.

There are zero Muslim senators and one Muslim congressman. Zero out of 100 and one out of 435 and that’s stealth jihad. That’s a merciless scheme to demoralize the community, to villainize and demonize the community, for the sole purpose of making money. They’re financed by tens hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s an industry.

Where is the mercy? Right now, this hurricane, the winds died down, but the rain is coming. And they have open lagoons of pig manure and pig fetuses and pig blood from these hog farms next to African-American communities. Poor people who can’t go anywhere. They’re going to flood over. Even without flooding the spraying in the air coats their houses. They can’t breathe the air. People have respiratory problems. They have to breathe that garbage.

And the North Carolina legislature banned a bill that would even declare this a harmful practice. Where’s the mercy in that? You go up and down the ledger, there’s no mercy. There’s total exploitation of people.

Industrialized Despair

They won’t even give you a meal. You can fly on Ethiopian Airlines – one of the poorest countries in the world – you can fly from Addis Ababa to […]; they give you a hot meal, a hot towel to clean your hands with, for a two-hour flight. You fly from New York City to Los Angeles, five and a half hours, you’re lucky if you get a bag of pretzels.

When you got on the plane, the sky cab, the company is going to take their tips. Where is the mercy in all that? And they’ll tell you, “Muslim, you’re not merciful.” And then you believe it and get all demoralized. Stand up! Be proud to be a Muslim. Don’t hang your head. Don’t give those people the satisfaction of demoralizing you. Thieves and killers.

A lady, Beth Macy, wrote a book about this whole opioid epidemic recently [Dopesick] and the subtitle: “[…] the [drug] company that addicted America.” Purdue Pharma, responsible for tens of thousands of dead Americans and no one went to jail. Tens of thousands of dead people, millions of addicts, and to misdemeanor charges for false advertisement, because they said this stuff isn’t abusive.

Pure morphine repackaged is not abusive. So when the abuse rate was almost a hundred percent, “Oh, we’re guilty.” Misdemeanor on two of their executives. No one goes to jail. But all these little people, not selling heroin, selling marijuana on the street corner, are going to jail feeding this prison industrial complex. Where is the mercy in that?

Never Despair of Allah’s Mercy

And you, demoralized, believe your religion has no mercy. “Oh, my servants who are going to excess in terms of abusing the rights of their soul.” This is addressed of people who are idolaters. What does Allah say about the idolator? Allah doesn’t forgive that partners are joined with him, but he forgives any sin other than that to whomsoever he pleases. But if that idolator repents, then Allah says, even if you are an idolater, “do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Verily, Allah forgives all sins.” (Sura al Zamar 39:53)

Allah forgives the idolater. Allah forgave the man who killed 100 people. Allah forgives people. One man came, long story short, and mention his sin and he couldn’t do this, he couldn’t do that to atone. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, he started laughing and said, “Just scram. Get out of here.” Allah bless him and give him peace.

Your sin is one against you. You do a good deed and it’s immediately multiplied ten times. Seven thousand. Seventy thousand. Seven million. Allah is Rahim and Karim. How hard do you have to work to go to hell, if that’s how things are reckoned? One sin is one against you.

The Reason for Hope

Even if you conspire to sin and then you leave it, then it’s credited as a good deed. Leaving a bad deed is a good deed. You know, I’m gonna do this and that, masha Allah. I get home, get dressed, go call up someone. I’m gonna go visit and we’re gonna go out and … “astaghfir Allah, that’s totally haram.” That’s the good.

You left the bad deed, it’s a good deed. Don’t you say you’re a sinner. Leaving the bad deed is a good deed and so the cycle kicks in. How hard does one have to work to go to hell? This is the mercy of Allah Most High. Allah forgives all sins. What did you do? Just repent to Allah and Allah will forgive you.

Why do you have no hope? Why are you despairing of Allah’s mercy. If those are the odds and if this is the mercy of Allah, then it’s rightfully said, “It is only a disbelieving people that despair of Allah’s mercy.” (Sura Yusuf 12:87)

So believers, never despair of Allah’s mercy. Don’t walk around here in a state of doom and gloom. Lift up your head, smile in the face of your your fellow believer. Smile in the face of everybody: the ordinary people. Spread peace, spread greetings of peace to people. Feed people.

“Oh, Messenger of Allah, what is the best manifestation of Islam, the most virtuous manifestation of Islam?” “That you feed people and greet people, those you know and those you don’t know.” Our sister, in the Rainbow Rec Center, just feeding people for 20-something years. Every Saturday. It’s one of the best manifestations of Islam.

And greet people those you know and those you know not. You should be a greeting machine. Everyone you pass:

– Assalam alaykum, how you doing? Ahlan wa sahlan wa marhaban.
– What does that mean?
– That means, Hey, you’re welcome. You’re like my family.
– Really? No one ever said that to me.
– We Muslims. That’s how we roll.

Islam Is The Beautiful Religion

Pick your head up. This is a beautiful religion. Don’t despair. It’s not a believing characteristic. It’s a characteristic, as we said, of people who have no faith. Those are the people, unfortunately, falling into drugs, falling into despair, falling into suicide, falling into alcoholism. We’re the antidote. We should be going to people.

That’s why they want to demoralize the Muslims, so we don’t believe we have anything to offer anybody. “Who wants to listen to us? They all think we‘re a bunch of terrorists.” I’ll tell you who wants to listen to you, those hundreds of people every day who are taking their Shahada, all over this country. They don’t want to see that.

We have to organize ourselves to serve them. And to serve those people who aren’t Muslim. The sister feeding the people at the Rainbow Rec in East Oakland, most of those people aren’t Muslim, but they’re human beings and they have human needs.

We should be rising up and organizing ourselves to meet their needs and don’t let them politicize our religion. They’re willing to politicize it so they can frame the discussion and frame the way that they present Islam to people. No, we have to we have to spiritualize it. It’s not a political struggle.

This Is Not a Game

We. as Muslims, we do a disservice when we frame it like that, because we’re playing into their hands. It’s a spiritual struggle. It’s a struggle between truth and falsehood. It’s a struggle between people who want to victimize and exploit and destroy people, and people who want to give them life, and to give them hope, and to give them direction.

That’s the struggle and we have to keep it at that level, because that’s our strength. Everything else will take care of itself. The politics, the economics, will take care of themselves.

But if we become wrapped up into this political struggle the parameters of which have been defined by the enemies of Islam, we’ll never get to the spiritual and the people will never get the hope, because in their mind they’re looking at Islam through a frame that we as Muslims sometimes help to reinforce.

We have to frame the issue along the lines that play into our strengths. When you have one congressman and zero senators, politics is not our strength. I hope you understand that. You can hoop and holler all you want. But when those are the odds, I’m not saying there’s no politics in Islam, I’m saying that our struggle is a grassroots struggle.

Our struggle as a struggle to save people. Our struggle as a struggle to give people hope. Our struggle is a struggle to inspire people. Our struggle is a struggle to put people back in touch with their humanity. And when that happens to tens and hundreds of thousands of people, to millions of people, everything else will take care of itself. May Allah give us tawfiq.

We Are a Joyous People

Let me leave you with this verse, brothers and sisters. Allah Most High mentions in the Qur’an:

قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّـهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ

Say, [O Muhammad]: In the grace of Allah and in His mercy let them rejoice. It is better than anything they can gather [from this world.] (Sura Yunus 10:58)

We should be a joyous people. All this stuff has happened out there. Islamophobia and all this other stuff is happening. Depression, suicide, we went through the whole gamut and the first khutba. We still should be a joyous people, because we have faith in our heart, because we have belief in the Hereafter, because we know no matter how bad things get in this world, if we patiently persevere, if we struggle and we forge on, then we’re opening the gates for unimaginable bliss for the rest of eternity.

Eternal bliss. When we understand what eternity means, and we understand that everyone’s life in this world will end, young or old, rich or poor, black or white.

كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ۗ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُورَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۖ فَمَن زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ ۗ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ

Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion. (Sura Aal Imran 3:185)

Life Begins in The Hereafter

Everyone is going to die. Everybody’s going to die and so our life really begins when we die – in the big scheme of things, in the greater scheme of things – and once we die the gate is opened to eternity. This world is finite. Paradise and Hell are eternal.

خالدين فيها
dwelling therein forever

خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا
dwelling therein forever and ever

Either Hellfire. Not forever and ever for believers, but who wants to experience a second of that? Or Janna [The Garden]. That’s what it’s all about. And Allah Most High, in giving us faith, has blessed us and placed us on a path to Janna.

We have to nurture our faith, and cultivate our faith, and rejoice in our faith. “Let them rejoice in this. I is better than anything anyone could gather from the world.” What does it mean that someone gets all the cars? They have the whole collection. They have the 1965 Mustang all the way up to their 2018 Tesla. They have them and everything in between. They got the Rolls Royce, they got the Lamborghini, you name it. They even got the Bugatti.

They got the whole lineup. They have the whole residential lineup. They have the condo at Lake Merritt. They have their chateau in the Rocky Mountains, in Aspen. They have their home in the Hamptons that they never get to. They have the whole line up from the condo to the chateau to the the house in the Hamptons. Check everything on the list. They got it.

Wardrobe. They have it all. From the alligator shoes to whatever you’re supposed, if you have money. They got it. In the house in the Hamptons they have horses they never ride. Because they never get over there. But they got the horses, too. They got the house and they got the horse.

Faith Is Proof of Allah’s Love

What does it mean if they don’t have faith? What does it mean that as soon as they get the house with the horses and they’ve checked the final check the final box on the list, they die? People are deceived into thinking all this means something.

“If this world meant to Allah as much as a gnat’s wing,” do you know how small a gnat is? If it meant a gnat’s wing “He wouldn’t have given an arrogant rejecter a single drop of water to drink.” (Tirmidhi) Allah gives it freely to whomsoever He pleases.

He gives it to the Muslim. He gives it to the person who’s not a Muslim. He gives it to the rich. He gives it to the black. He gives it to the white. He gives it to those who come who inherit it and those who get it because they can throw a ball in a basket. He gives it freely to whomever He pleases.

But He only gives faith to those He loves. That’s why the believer rejoices. May Allah give us faith that leads us to rejoice no matter what is happening in the world, because we can look beyond the world. We can look at something that transcends the world. We can look at something more valuable than the world and everything in it.


Ours Is Not A Caravan of Despair: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

True joy lies within the heart, and it is unshakeable. Every breath, heartbeat, and moment is a gift from Allah.not a caravan of despair

Knowing that happiness comes from Allah, we should keep in mind that suffering and hardship come from the same Lord.

An Alternative Perspective

But how can there be joy in hardship? This is where the believer sees things differently. We know that there is a Hereafter, and that we find mercy in the response. When we find oppression, difficulty and distress, we know that is it an opportunity to turn to Allah.

With any situation, our question should be; “How can I be a truly grateful servant? What is the response of gratitude?” Through prayer, charity, advocacy and gathering with others, we work to find a solution. Rather than be a social commentator, we should connect with those who are suffering, and work to improve their lot. Through action we can truly express our gratitude.

The question we need to ask is not, “Why are things the way they are?” Rather the question is, “What is the response required from me?”

See Allah in Everything

One of the poets said, “If you see God as the actor in everything, you behold all creation as beautiful. But if all you see are the traces of His creation, you turn something dazzlingly beautiful into something ugly.”

In the Qur’an, it has been revealed that, “For indeed, with hardship comes ease. Indeed, with hardship comes ease.” (94:4-5). Rather than being told that ease comes after hardship, we are told that it comes with hardship. Allah is not telling us that ease is coming; He is telling us that ease is here.

May Allah grant us to see the opportunity for mercy, good, gratitude, direction, and positivity in every situation. After all, ours is not a caravan of despair.


Resources for Seekers

A Letter To A Friend During Difficult Times, by Mohammed Tayssir Safi

Sidi Mohammed Tayssir Safi was asked by a friend, “Where should we focus our energy today?” Here’s what he wrote in response.

As-salaamu ‘alaykum my dear friend,
I miss you! I pray you are well. I know these are difficult times. I saw your message and wanted to reply but I wasn’t sure how to put into words what I have learned from Allah and His Messenger through the teachings and actions of those who strive every day in their way. However, tonight during our weekly Hikam class I found the words of those with purified hearts that speak to such trying events. I’ll paraphrase some of it and put it in a sequence I feel best speaks to our situation:

God the exalted says in His Generous Book, “Do not be sad, for God is with us.” [9:40]

It is reported that God revealed to the Prophet David:

“O David, what I love for my creation is that they be spiritual beings. Spiritual beings are not distressed because they know that I am the lantern of their hearts. So don’t let concern darken your heart and decrease you from the sweetness you’ve inherited from spiritual beings.”

This is the crux of our existence. We struggle to realize, to know, and to witness that God exists, is present, and that He knows everything, nothing escapes Him. A person who knows God and witnesses Him is not distressed by the ever changing world. He knows that all other events in existence are in God’s firm grasp and are encompassed by His Gentleness and Mercy. The world has its ups and its downs but God is constant.
The famous scholar Shibly is narrated to have said,

“Whosoever truly knows God will never experience distress.”

This is best explained by the saying of Ibn Ata Allah Iskandari who said: “Bliss, even though its outward manifestations vary in form is ultimately based on witnessing God and being close to Him. As for punishment, it too varies in its manifestations but is ultimately based on being veiled from God and being distanced from Him. The real root cause of punishment is a veil between you and God and complete bliss is gazing upon His Generous Countenance.”
It is for this reason, dear friend, that the Knowers of God, the Friends of God, the Saints, they are never shaken. Although they are concerned for the world and for its inhabitants… particularly the oppressed and the overlooked, that does not cause them to lose sight of Who is in charge.
Their innermost hearts are not shaken by difficult times even if their concern for people is high. Their hearts are concentrated on the only constant, Allah. They can balance between being completely focused on God and serving creation. Their knowledge of God does not remove them from the station of serving the needy and the oppressed.
What I have mentioned is a lofty station that most of us struggle to understand, let alone achieve. I personally know how much I need these words because I often find my heart shaken by world events and by events in my day to day life.
Thankfully, those of us who have not reached the station mentioned still find benefit in difficult times. Such difficult trials put out the fire of the ego, purify the heart, remove from us greed, or love of worldly things. And for some of us it is an expiation of our sins and elevates us in ranks in the next life.
You asked what we should focus on, on THIS day… and I would say that we should focus on God, Exalted is He.
I leave you in God’s care,
Tayssir

Follow Sidi Mohammed Tayssir Safi on Facebook.

Is Losing Hope in Dua a Sign That I Am Not a True Believer?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Is losing hope in dua a sign that I am not a true believer?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Hope and Fear

“Let no sin reach such proportions in your eyes
that it cuts you off from having a good opinion of God
for, indeed, whoever knows his Lord
considers his sin as paltry next to His generosity.” (Aphorism of Ibn Ata’illah)

Dear sister, never despair in the Mercy of Allah. Losing hope in dua is a sign that you are in need of spiritual nourishment. Increase in your obligatory acts of worship, as well as your supererogatory acts of worship. Seek out the company of those who remind you of the Mercy of Allah. Work on cutting down on things in your life which displease Allah. Ask Allah to grant you the blessing of having a good opinion of Him.

Remember that Allah tests those whom He loves. Spiritual struggle is therefore a sign of His Love for you.

I pray that Allah increases your hope in Him, and helps you see His Mercy and Love.

Please see:

The Door of Repentance and Return to Allah is Always Open

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Omar Chatriwala

I Am a Married Man Who Has Committed a Lot of Heinous Sins. Will Allah Ever Forgive Me?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I have committed a lot of sins. I curse myself in the hope that I will not fall into the same sin but I keep sinning. I am working in computer engineering, but have no success in my sales.


I have done a lot of supplications but I don’t see any changes. My wife is the provider, which makes me feel ashamed. Can you help me?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah help you make a complete repentance, and increase your provision.

Valid Repentance

The conditions for a valid repentance are:

a. One leaves the sin,
b. One feels remorse for the action committed,
c. One resolves to not return to it, and
d. One pays back or returns what one owes if the sin involves the rights of others.

[Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin]

Have you hurt another person through your sin? If you have, then please seek to redress it. Examples of redressing harm to another are: returning stolen money/goods, seeking forgiveness from someone you have harmed, clarifying the truth if you have slandered another, etc.

As I am unsure about the nature of your sin, then I cannot give you more specific advice. Please seek out a compassionate local scholar and ask for help. If you are struggling with an addiction, then please seek out a counsellor or psychologist.

Hope

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) having said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would sweep you out of existence and He would replace (you by) those people who would commit sin and seek forgiveness from Allah, and He would have pardoned them.” [Sahih Muslim]

Please reflect on this beautiful hadith, and have hope in Allah’s Mercy. When you sin, instead of cursing yourself, ask Allah for forgiveness.

Haste

It was narrated from Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “It is necessary that you do not become hasty.” It was said: “What does being hasty mean, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “When one says: ‘I supplicated to Allah but Allah did not answer me.'” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Please keep on making dua and praying tahajjud, and please do so with patience. It can be very challenging to wait for an opening from Allah, but trust that He is listening, and will answer.

Provision

Please read Surah Al-Waqiah to increase your provision. Even though it is difficult for you, make shukr that you have a wife who has the ability to support you financially. InshaAllah you will be able to provide for her again in the near future. Remember the example of our Lady Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), who was much older than the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) and much wealthier.

Please perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to help you stop your sin, and for Allah to increase your provision. Trust that nothing is difficult for Allah.

Please refer to the following link:

A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

I Feel Depressed From My Cycle of Sin and Repentance. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: For several years, I have been struggling with sin. I repent and try to refrain from it, but I always end up repeating it. Now I don’t feel like repenting because it feels too late. I have no right to ask for forgiveness. I feel depressed and sick of this cycle. What should I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, don’t despair in the Mercy of Allah. The fact that you even sent this question is a sign that Allah wants good for you. Alhamdulilah, you still care enough to ask.

Allah’s Mercy

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “Verily, Allah when He created the creation, He wrote with His Hand concerning Himself, that: ‘My mercy prevails over My wrath.’” [Tirmidhi]

When we are stuck in a cycle of sin and repentance, it is tempting to give into despair. Rather than give up, choose to look away from your state, and look to Allah. Have hope that His Mercy is tremendous, and more than enough to forgive you, along with all of creation, if He wishes.

Hope

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) having said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would sweep you out of existence and He would replace (you by) those people who would commit sin and seek forgiveness from Allah, and He would have pardoned them.” [Sahih Muslim]

Please on the beauty of this hadith. We are all prone to sin, and Allah loves to hear our repentance. Even if we get tired of asking for forgiveness, He does not tire of hearing our pleas.

When you feel paralysed by despair after repeatedly sinning, have hope in Allah’s Mercy. Do not focus on His Wrath. When you slacken and feel close to sin, then remind yourself of Allah’s Wrath.

Rewire

Our brains rewire, so you can break bad habits. It will take a lot of effort, so take it one step at a time, and please be consistent.

Investigate what triggers your sin. Is it the company you keep? Is your income halal? What kind of food are you eating? Are you more inclined to sin when you are feeling sad or lonely? Do you fall into sin during times of stress and anxiety?

I’m not sure what your specific sin is, so please do a thorough self-assessment of what causes it. Think of a plan to help you move forward. Use this time of remorse to help you plan for times of heedlessness.

Daily habits

Please aim to build healthier spiritual habits into your life. You know yourself best. Start with performing the obligatory prayers on time. Fast in Ramadan, give zakat, and save up and plan to go on Hajj if you are able.

Find healthier ways of self-soothing. If you feel tempted to do something sinful when you feel bad, ensure that you have something halal to do instead. Seek out better friends; friends who remind you of Allah.

A sign of true repentance is that there is no more sweetness left in the sin. Please have hope that Allah can make this happen for you.

I pray that Allah grants you a complete repentance, and raises your rank in Jannah.

Please refer to the following links:

A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Hamed Saber