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Why Did Allah Create Humans With The Potential For Evil?

When Allah first told the angels that He was going to place Adam as a Khalifa (vicegerent) on earth, the angels asked Him, “Would you place in it one who spreads corruption and who sheds blood?”

Given the state of humanity, this is a profound question. How did the angels know? And why was it Allah’s will that they would ask this question?

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains in this beautiful 20-minute khutbah.

Photo credit: nebojsa mladjenovic

Is It Haram to Like One’s Beauty and Appearance?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Is it haram to like one’s beauty and appearance, because it can be classified as arrogance? Is it also arrogant to wear nice clothes, put on makeup and do our hair in front of women in order to show off our beauty?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for your concern, grant you clarity in this matter, and guide you to what is pleasing to Him.

Definition of Arrogance

“No one with an atom’s worth of arrogance will enter paradise.” A man asked, “But a person loves that his clothes are seemly and his sandals are seemly.” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied,” Indeed Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Arrogance is denying truth and holding people in contempt.” (Muslim)

It is in our nature as human beings to enjoy beauty in its myriad forms. However, it is sinful to look down on others by because we feel superior to them in beauty, wealth, intelligence etc – that is a form of arrogance.

Vanity vs Dignity

“Vanity is when a person deems them self to have some blessing and forgets that it is from Allah and it does not require that a person is looking down on another person. Dignity (‘izzah) is when a person recognizes the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon them (faith, life, health, beauty, wealth, knowledge, prestige, etc) and walks humbly with a recognition of those blessings while not deeming themselves better than others.” From Balancing Confidence and Humility and the Wisdom of Trials from Allah

I strongly recommend that when you feel pleased about your beauty, you immediately remind yourself that this is a blessing from Allah Most High. InshaAllah, this will protect you from vanity.

Showing Off

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.'” [Qur’an, 14:7]

It is unwise to show off anything we have been blessed with. The appropriate attitude to have towards blessings is that one of gratitude (shukr) towards Allah. He is the One who bestows all of our blessings upon us. Whatever Allah grants, He can take away as a means of testing us. The best way to secure our blessings is through having continual shukr, inshaAllah.

Please refer to the following links:

Balancing Confidence and Humility and the Wisdom of Trials from Allah
What is the Difference Between Self Respect and Arrogance?
What is the Islamic Understanding of Pride?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Free Will and the Divine Decree: A Reader

“And you cannot intend (to do anything) unless it is so willed by Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.” [Quran 81.29]

Destiny and Human Responsibility in Islam

Affirming Free Will and the Divine Decree

Why Does the Qur’an Say Allah Misguides the Disbelievers? The Question of Free Will

Is Iblis Really from the Jinn? Why Is Iblis Blaming Allah for Leading Him Astray?

Do We Have Choice? And Does Allah Prevent That Choice from Being Realized?

How Can Allah Punish Disbelievers If He Is the One Who Veils Them From the Truth?

How Are the Prophets Protected from Error and Sin?

Do We Have Choice? And Does Allah Prevent That Choice from Being Realized?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: As Salaam alaikum,
1. Does Allah create our choices?
2. When we ask Allaah to give someone guidance how does Allah’s help to this person manifest itsef in regard to his free will?
3. When Allaah miraculously saves a Prophet or saves someone from some harm coming from the enemy, is this just Him occasionally stopping the enemy’s free will? Like when the disbelievers didn’t to destroy the spider web on the cave…
4. How do we deal with mentally challenged people? I know they are not responsible in front of God but why do they exist?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Everybody has choice (ikhtiyar), and therein lies the secret of responsibility (taklif) before the Divine.
But there is no such thing as choice being prevented and the like. It is possible that what people wish to do doesn’t always happen as they intended, yet this doesn’t negate choice as people aren’t running the world– Allah is. With that in mind, don’t overcomplicate such discussions lest you put yourself into some degree of hardship.
(1) Allah is the Creator of absolutely everything. The human being has no power in and of himself, and does not create his own actions, yet is responsible by virtue of his being able to act.
(2) Supplication benefits. [see: Can Supplication Change Destiny?]
(3) They had the choice to break the spider’s web, but they chose not to.
(4) There is wisdom in the creation of everything– sometimes such wisdom is apparent and sometimes it is not. Something we can appreciate from the existence of such people is the magnitude of the Divine Favour upon us.
Please also see: Affirming Free Will and the Divine Decree and: Suffering and Divine Wisdom
Consider taking: Excellence in Faith & Action (from Ghazali’s 40 Foundations of Religion) and: Islamic Beliefs for Seekers: Dardir’s Kharidah Explained
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Things Inconsistent With Accepting Fate – Imam Ghazali

Accepting Fate:
“Complaining, no matter what the circumstances, is inconsistent with accepting fate. Criticizing food and finding fault with it is a rejection of what Allah Most High has destined, since blaming what is made is blaming the maker, and everything is Allah’s work.
For a person to say that ‘poverty is an affliction and trial,’ or ‘having a family to support is worry and fatigue,’ or ‘working for a living is a
burden and hardship’ – all this is inconsistent with accepting fate.
One should rather leave the plan to its planner, the kingdom to its king, and say, as ‘Umar did (Allah be well pleased with him), ‘I do not care whether I become rich or poor, for I don’t know which is better for me.’” [Reliance of the Traveller, w59.1]

Purchase the Book:

Reliance of the Traveller: http://www.firdousbooks.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=282
Relevant Resources:
Trust in Allah and Provisions for Seekers of Knowledge
Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life
Affirming Free Will and the Divine Decree
Belief in Destiny, It’s Good and Evil – Shaykh Nuh Keller – Sea without Shore
Can Supplication Change Destiny?
Media: 
IslamCast Daily Hadith – 8. The Muslim as a Source of Safety and Trust
Courses:
Faith in Divine Unity & Trust in Divine Providence with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

Balancing Confidence and Humility and the Wisdom of Trials from Allah

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question 1: How can we balance self-esteem with humility? To me self-esteem means one loves oneself and consider themselves to be mostly good, yet Islam requires us to consider ourselves weak, broken and full of faults. Is it ok to do ‘affirmations’ by looking in the mirror and repeating statements like ‘I am good’, ‘I am carefree and joyous’ etc. for 2 minutes a day? This is what some self-help non Muslim people recommend.

Answer 1: Before analyzing the various practices that one can do to improve their self esteem, it is important to note the Islamic understanding of how we view ourselves.

The Islamic Understanding of Self-Esteem

There are terms to know and they are arrogance (kibr), vanity (‘ujb), dignity (‘izzah), debasement (dhul), and humility (tawadu’). Knowing these terms and what the definition is is important so that one does not fall into the prohibited. Arrogance (kibr) is when a person deems themselves to be good but in relation to others as in saying, “I am better than him/her/them.”

Vanity is when a person deems them self to have some blessing and forgets that it is from Allah and it does not require that a person is looking down on another person. Dignity (‘izzah) is when a person recognizes the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon them (faith, life, health, beauty, wealth, knowledge, prestige, etc) and walks humbly with a recognition of those blessings while not deeming themselves better than others.

If a person allows others to walk over them and take away their rights, this is called dhul and it is haram. So you have to hold your head up high with dignity, not with arrogance. All people have to remember that they have God-given rights and it is an obligation to protect their dignified state (muru’ah). If a person voluntarily gives up their owed rights and is not demanding, then this is humility (tawadu’) and it is a praiseworthy trait.

A person must therefore protect his self-esteem especially since our greatest enemy, the Shaytan, who has declared war on mankind, hates our God-given dignity. Allah says, “And we have ennobled the children of Adam.” It was this honor, nobility and dignity that cause Iblis to refuse to bow and caused him to become rejected. Iblis hates us for this and will try everything to remove our dignity.

He will make us remove our clothes, tattoo ourselves, wear undignified clothing, speak filth hurt ourselves and others. He works day an night to sink us into a state of depression and then into a state of despair. In the state of despair, we end up hurting ourselves and others, leaving faith, and taking our lives or the lives of others. So, we must have a fortress of strong self esteem to protect ourselves against the shaytan.

Mentioning the blessings that Allah has given us is actually a good practice. In Sura Duha it states, “And as for the blessing of Allah then speak.” At the same time, we do not want to allow a recognition of the blessings of Allah turn into arrogance or vanity. One way to do this is to remind ourselves of our nature, which includes the fact that we carry najasah in our bodies, we create filth in our ears (wax), eyes (sleep), nose (mucous), mouths (saliva), etc.

Hasan al Basri once saw a man he did not know walking with arrogance The many saw Hasan looking at him and said, “Do you know me?” to which Hasan al Basri said, “Yes, you began as a clot of blood, then at the end your life you become a rotten corpse and in between that you caryy filth in your body.”

The science of understanding the intricacies between all of these states is called Tassawuuf and is an accepted part of Ahlul Sunna wal Jama’ah. I encourage you to study this science but to begin by gaining a firm grounding in the science of faith (aqida) and law (fiqh).

Question 2: I understand that Allah tests us with suffering as a trial, but what if it is too much for the person to handle?  I suppose I am trying to ask how come we are tested in ways that we can be completely ignorant about? As a child I was beaten, tricked and nearly drowned by other children falsely accused by my parents for things, and told I was stupid.  Were these experiences supposed to benefit me in the long run?

Answer 2: We all experience different levels of trials but we have to be firm in realizing that they are all from Allah. Recognizing Divine Decree (qadr) is a pillar of faith as is mentioned in the Hadith of Jibreel alayhis salam. One of the main ways that the Shaytan gets us to question the existence of Allah is to begin by getting us to question Divine Decree.

How to Deal With the Divine Decree

Many people have left faith in God because of not being able to answer the question, “If there is a God, then why is there evil in the world?” For a Muslim, the answer should be automatic and it is, “Allah does whatever He wills” (Quran 85:16). I myself repeat this ayah when I see or hear things I cannot understand such as the death of children, atrocities against people, oppression, etc.

There is another ayah to repeat and reflect on when we think about things we cannot answer and it is the verse, “He is not questioned about what He does, but they will be questioned” (Quran 21:23). Therefore, do not allow yourself to ask about what has happened unless you first accept it and then you are trying to find wisdom in what happen, as the angels were in asking about the creation of mankind. Also, when reflecting on what you experienced think about the prophets and what they experienced

They lived lives like we did as a consolation to us. We cannot fully relate to angels because they do not experience life as we do. Having prophets as examples allows us to be able to relate to them. We will all experience aspects of the Seera of the prophets or the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless them and our Prophet).

If you feel rejected by others, reflect on the people’s rejection of their prophets. If you feel betrayed, think of Yusef at the bottom of the well (and a person can drown in a well). If you feel alone, think about Musa alayhis salam in the land of Madyan. You should not feel stupid by thinking about your life and experiences. Your life is a book that Allah gave only to you and He wants you to reflect on your life. Just as we are to reflect on the heavens and earth, we are to reflect on ourselves as Allah says in the Quran (51:21).

Using Life Experience to Strengthen Faith

You need to use your life experience to grow stronger in faith and not be weakened. If you feel weakened by thinking about your life, then you are reflecting on it in the wrong method. Change the method that you are using to think about your life. Also remember, that we can sometimes get depressed and reflection and dhikr can help. Other times the depression becomes clinical and we need medication or therapy. Do not feel embarrassed about seeking out this type of help. There is no difference between seeking medical help or therapy for physical ailments or mental ailments.

Rami Nsour

Affirming Free Will and the Divine Decree

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I’ve been having strong doubts about Islam due to difficulty accepting the belief in Qadr.

This verse from Imam al-Tahawi’s creed strongly bothers me, for example.

83. The Garden and the Fire are created things that never come to an end and we believe that Allah created them before the rest of creation and then created people to inhabit each of them. Whoever He wills goes to the Garden out of His bounty and whoever He wills goes to the Fire through His justice. Everybody acts in accordance with what is destined for him and goes towards what he has been created for.

Also this: 44. The same applies to all actions done by people, which are done exactly as Allah knew they would be done. Everyone is eased towards what he was created for and it is the action with which a man’s life is sealed which dictates his fate. Those who are fortunate are fortunate by the decree of Allah, and those who are wretched are wretched by the decree of Allah.

I used to believe that Allah loves and wants the best for all his creation. But now I have to believe that he tests the non-Muslims to justify damning them to perdition. How is this fitting for a kind and loving God? This belief is causing me distress in religion and life. Also doesn’t this mean that Firoun and Shaytan etc. were only fulfilling their purpose of creation?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

I believe you have a misunderstanding of this issue. Allah’s preeternal will coincides with His preeternal knowledge, and this by no means negates the free will of man and jinn.

That is to say, Allah in preeternity knew and, based on His knowledge, willed that Firown would be the way he would. Allah decreed the actions of Firown as per His preeternal knowledge of Firown’s choices. Of course, there is no implication of time sequence in this (see below on Allah’s timelessness).

But in his own lifetime, Firown chose to act the way he acted, and was not forced by any means. The two realities are not mutually exclusive. We affirm human free will, and we also affirm divine knowledge, will and power.

This issue is a complex one that is difficult for the mind to grasp at even an elementary level. Indeed, at the root of our difficulty is that we cannot fathom the divine attribute of ‘timelessness.’ He Most High is the First and the Last, without beginning and without end. He is not bound by time, since time itself is His creation. As our Master Ibn Ata’illah states, “Allah existed, and there was nothing besides Him. And He is now just as He was.”

So all of creation, and all moments of creation, are “laid out” in front of the Divine, as it were. There is no ‘before/now/after’ with respect to Allah. So from the divine vantage point, Firown’s place in the Fire is not ‘after’ Firown’s birth… Divine knowledge of Firown did not increase one iota after Firown. This is essential to understand. It was already done, in a sense.

“They did not estimate Allah His rightful estimation; indeed, Allah is strong, mighty.” (22:74)

I would advise you to study creed under qualified scholarship. You may want to take the following course for example: Islamic Beliefs for Seekers: Dardir’s Kharidah Explained

And Allah knows best.

wassalam

Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

Destiny and Human Responsibility in Islam

Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life

Can Supplication Change Destiny?