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Ask in the Presence of Allah – Dr Shadee Elmasry

Dr Shadee Elmasry recounts the narration on the reduction of prayers from fifty to five and lists nine things we can learn from this.

In the Isra and Miraj, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, tells us:

Then the prayers were enjoined on me: they were fifty prayers a day. When I returned, I passed by Moses, who asked: “What have you been ordered to do?” I replied: “I have been ordered to offer fifty prayers a day.” Moses said: “Your followers cannot bear fifty prayers a day, and by Allah I have tested people before you, and I have tried my best with Bani Israel (in vain). Go back to your Lord and ask for reduction to lessen your followers’ burden.” So I went back, and Allah reduced ten prayers for me. Then again I came to Moses, but he repeated the same as he had said before. Then again I went back to Allah, and He reduced ten more prayers. When I came back to Moses he said the same. I went back to Allah, and He ordered me to observe ten prayers a day. When I came back to Moses, he repeated the same advice, so I went back to Allah and was ordered to observe five prayers a day. He told me to go for a further reduction, but I was ashamed to ask for more.

Why did Allah go through all of this when he knew what the final number would be? Why not just ordain five from the start? What is this supposed to teach us?

Nine Points of Learning

1. It is supposed to teach us the approachability of Allah. That he is approachable with our dua. That we should never stop returning to Him asking for ease and mercy even if over and over again.

2. It also demonstrates the importance of the prayer, for we were asked for fifty a day, a very large number.

3. It also puts on display the importance of asking those who have experience. In this case, the prophet who is about to lead a nation, asking the prophet who already led a nation.

4. It also shows the compassion the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, had for his umma, for he went back and forth quite a number of times, all for his concern with our well being.

5. It also shows the generosity of Allah with the umma of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, for even though we are doing only five, we are getting the reward of fifty, since one good deed is rewarded ten times over.

6. It shows that things unfold slowly, for the decrease did not go from 50 to 5 right away, but rather through steps and stages, for which we need diligence and patience.

7. So that the believers can feel the blessing of the reduction. If a mu’min feels the burden of five prayers a day, he feels relief knowing that it was originally fifty.

8. It is a gift to Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, that he was given the opportunity to show his concern for us and decrease the burden from off of Allah’s most beloved umma. Every individual Muslim is now indebted to him for this great ease which we experience daily. Our payment of that debt is recognizing his favor and increasing in our love for him.

9. It shows that the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, could enter the Divine presence at will.

And Allah knows best.


Dr Shadee Elmasry was born and raised in New Jersey. He began studying at the age of eighteen, traveling to a number of countries including Egypt, KSA, Yemen and Morocco.

In addition to traditional learning, Dr Elmasry has received has an MA from The George Washington University and a PhD from the University of London SOAS.

Dr Elmasry went on to teach at several universities including Yale University, University of London SOAS, Trinity College, Hartford Seminary, and Manhattanville College.

Currently, he serves as Scholar in Residence at the New Brunswick Islamic Center in New Jersey. He is also the founder and head of Safina Society — an institution dedicated to the cause of traditional Islamic education in the West.


Can I Make Dua That Allah Sends My Boyfriend to Me as My Future Husband?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I am a young girl who has had a relationship with a guy for over 2 years, but we broke up.

I know that everything is already written for us and we have to put faith in Allah, as He knows best. However, I don’t like the idea of ending up with someone whom I don’t love in this way.

Can I ask Allah in my dua’s to end up with the man I love in the future? There are no wrongs thoughts such as lust involved, just pure love. Can our dua’s be so powerful that Allah can maybe change my mektab if he had written something else and grant me the person I truly love?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

Love

It was narrated from Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “There is nothing like marriage, for two who love one another.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Dear sister, you did the right thing by ending your pre-marital relationship. As much as you are hurting right now, know that your heartache will reduce with time. I pray that Allah grants you tremendous reward for making your repentance, and replaces what you have lost with far better.

When you are young, it may seem that the key to a happy marriage is to be deeply in love with a person. However, it takes more than that. Over the course of your marriage. as kids are born, bills need to be paid, and parents and in-laws age, it would help tremendously if your husband is kind, loyal, supportive, financially savvy and forgiving. If a marriage is not worked on actively through these very normal life stressors, then you can very easily fall out of love.

Duas and destiny

In your best case scenario, Allah has written that you will marry the young man you love. In your perceived worst case scenario, Allah has written that you will marry someone else. Allah knows what duas you will make even before you make them.

As to whether your duas can change your destiny, please refer to this Can Supplication Change Destiny?

It is permissible for you to make dua for Allah to bless you with marriage to to the man you love. However, I strongly recommend that you also make dua for Allah to bless you with the best husband for you, and to grant you contentment with His Decree.

I suggest that you do not give your heart away to a man until you have done your nikah. Deep and lasting love can blossom after nikah, within the safety of your marriage.

Marriage

I encourage you to learn more about what it takes to have a successful Islamic marriage. This way, no matter who you marry, you will have the right tools to navigate the next stage of your life.

Please read Before You Tie The Knot and listen to the Getting Married lesson set.

Perspective

God willing, you have decades ahead of you. Perhaps Allah has saved you from great pain by separating you from the man you love. Perhaps there is something within him or his family that will cause you great pain, should you marry him.

On the flipside, perhaps Allah has written marriage to the man you love – just not right now.

Only Allah knows. The best way for you to close this door of longing is to perform The Prayer of Guidance. You can If Allah makes it clear to you that marriage to him is good, then He will facilitate that e.g. your parents will be open to the idea. If Allah makes it lear that marriage to him is harmful.

Free your heart of attachments to Allah, or He will free it for you.

Spiritual nourishment

God Most High says, “Truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find rest.” [Qur’an, 13:28]

While you are in this vulnerable state, it is extremely important for you to nourish your heart and soul. Read and listen to Qur’an, fast, find comfort in supplication, give in charity, help others in need, and other praiseworthy acts.

I pray that Allah grants you ease and contentment. Please keep in touch.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

[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 SeekersHub 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.

The Science of the Heart – Safina Society Podcast

The Safina Society team is joined by Mufti Niaz Hannan and Yusuf Hussain to discuss Tasawwuf, what it is, why it is needed, and how to recognize it.

With these two final episodes, the Safina Society team close out their season on a wonderful, warm, engaging, and lively discussion of Tasawwuf.

What it is. What it isn’t. Its sources, roots, methods, proofs, and fruits. Why we need this knowledge. How to understand this “science of the heart.”

They also give concrete and heart-awakening examples of common people in our communities who, knowingly or not, “truly [are] what we would call, the people of Tasawwuf.”

 

With gratitude to Safina Society.


Day 12: Learn a Dua for the Deceased – 30 Deeds 30 Days

Day 12: Learn a Dua for the Deceased.

In Ramadan, we tend to focus on our fasts and prayers, and their spiritual effects on us. However, sometimes we forget about the ones who can’t perform these deeds anymore. You may have grandparents, parents, or even siblings and friends who have passed away.

This Ramadan, look up a comprehensive dua for the deceased, and make an effort to recite it often, such as after tarawih prayers or before breaking the fast. You will be giving benefit to those who have passed away, as well as gaining rewards with Allah.


Bring new life to this Ramadan by enrolling in a FREE On-Demand course.

O Seeker! – Habib Ali al Jifri

Habib Ali al Jifri speaks on overcoming the seven obstacles in spiritual wayfaring to Allah Most High, and the fruits thereof.

This is the third and perhaps final series of “O Seeker!” by His Eminence al Habib Ali al Jifri, may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him.

The first series filmed in 2008 in the Grand Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, may Allah grant its people relief, was about the concept of spiritual wayfaring to Allah, the Exalted, and awakening a desire for it.

The second series held in the Heart of Chechnya Mosque in Grozny in 2016 detailed how to overcome each of the seven obstacles during spiritual wayfaring to Allah.

The current series of thirty episodes is about the fruits of overcoming these obstacles, which are spiritual stations and spiritual states. If Allah wills, a new episode will be added to this playlist everyday this Ramadhan (2018).

The program also airs on TV on the following channels (GMT +3 Makka time):

Al Irth al Nabawi (Nilesat 11334H) – 7:30 p.m., 1:30 a.m., 1 p.m.
CBC (Nilesat 11488H) – 10 p.m., 12 p.m.
CBC +2 – 12 a.m., 2 p.m.
Extra CBC – 3.10 a.m., 3:45 p.m.
Palestine (Nilesat 11823H) – 2:30 a.m.
Libya (Nilesat 10872H) – 1:10 a.m., 5 a.m.

Among the works referred to are Al Risala al Qushayriyya of Imam Abd al Karim al Qushayri (465 AH / 1072) of Nishapur, Iran, and Manazil al Sai‘rin of Shaykh al Islam Khwaja Abdullah Ansari (481 AH / 1088) of Herat, Afghanistan. May Allah be pleased them!

The program airs with English subtitles.


With gratitude to Muwasala.org and Almoreed.com.


Ramadan Intentions – Ustadh Abdul Muhaymin

In this video, Ustadh Abdul Muhaymin encourages us to have a list of intentions for our fasts, as well as a list of duas we recite frequently.

He mentions that Ramadan is a time in which we should step up our game. We should try to make this month a transformative one. A good way to do this, is to have some intentions and duas that we review every day.

In addition, we should do our best to bring in good habits and get rid of bad ones. One way to could accomplish this, is to look at our goals from last Ramadan. If we were not able to accomplish these, we could make an effort to strengthen them this Ramadan. If we did have goals that we were able to successfully implement, then this Ramadan we could add to that goal and try something new.


With gratitude to Tayba Foundation.


Sura al Kahf: Gratitude – Shaykh Walead Mosaad

Shaykh Walead Mosaad tells the story of the man of two gardens who was ungrateful for the blessing he was given and what we can learn from this.

Sahib al jannatayn or the man of the two gardens is the next parable. In reality it was one big garden. It was surrounded by date palm trees. A river ran though it and it had crops in its center.

The mufassirun mentioned that this garden was self irrigated. The man didn’t have to do anything. It was an amazing garden. Allah Most High Says:

وَاضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلًا رَّجُلَيْنِ جَعَلْنَا لِأَحَدِهِمَا جَنَّتَيْنِ مِنْ أَعْنَابٍ وَحَفَفْنَاهُمَا بِنَخْلٍ وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُمَا زَرْعً

Strike for them a similitude: Two men, unto one of whom We had assigned two gardens of grapes, and We had surrounded both with date-palms and had put between them tillage. (Sura al Kahf 18:32)

So there two men, one of the men had this garden of grapes and it’s surrounded by big trees and it has a river running through it and also has crops for tillage. In other words it’s self-sustaining – a perfect garden.

The First Mistake Made

Some of the narrations say they were brothers, or first cousins, or from the same tribe. Some say that the other man had something similar to it, or that he had wealth similar to it, but he spent it all in the way of Allah Most High and was left with nothing for himself.

كِلْتَا الْجَنَّتَيْنِ آتَتْ أُكُلَهَا وَلَمْ تَظْلِم مِّنْهُ شَيْئًا ۚ وَفَجَّرْنَا خِلَالَهُمَا نَهَرًا

Each of the gardens gave its fruit and withheld naught thereof. And We caused a river to gush forth therein. (Sura al Kahf 18:33)

He didn’t have to do much to maintain it. It was there and the rivers were flowing and everything was going great. It was a marvel of agriculture.

وَكَانَ لَهُ ثَمَرٌ فَقَالَ لِصَاحِبِهِ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَنَا أَكْثَرُ مِنكَ مَالًا وَأَعَزُّ نَفَرً

And he had fruit. And he said to his comrade, when he spoke with him: I am more than you in wealth, and stronger in respect of men. (Sura al Kahf 18:34)

Here’s where the problems begin. This verse is now kufr ni‘ama, a denial of blessing from Allah. What is important is that a denial of blessing from Allah can lead to outright kufr which is denial of Allah altogether.

The first mistake he makes is that he attributes his wealth to himself and does not see it as a blessing from Allah. He says the word ana (I). Anytime you see the word ana in the Qur’an it’s bad news. The first one to say ana is Shaytan: ana khayrun minhu … “I am better than him. I am made from fire. He is made from clay and dirt. Hence I am better.”

Isn’t the man saying a similar thing? “I have more money. I have more wealth. And hence I will be more respectful, have a better reputation, be more powerful in the eyes of men and those that I think count.”

Being Self-Important

So it began with this ujub: being impressed with oneself. The reason that no one should be self-impressed is because there’s no you here in the whole thing. Especially something like this. Look at the verse before it. Look at how Allah describes it. It goes back to Allah who is the One who made the river spring forth in the middle of it. Who is the One that made the fruits bear what they bear.

When you talk about crop farming, especially if it’s your livelihood, there’s nothing really that can teach you as much tawakkul as that. The farmer works and his harvest is once a year, maybe twice a year depending on his crop. The rest of the year he’s digging, he’s tilling, he’s seeding, he’s maintaining, he’s irrigating, and he’s not getting a dime back.

Nothing is coming back in income and the whole hope is that the crop will be so successful that at harvest time all of his needs and income for the year will come from that single crop. That’s a lot of tawakkul.

So what this man did completely contravenes that. Perhaps because it was so effortless for him. Perhaps this made him think: “I did all of this and it was so easy.” He didn’t have to struggle, to irrigate – the river burst forth and ran through it. He didn’t have to make tributaries and have it run and all these type of things. It ran on its own and he became deluded by this fact. And then he looked at his friend or his brother. “You gave your whole thing away. You’re stupid. Look at me.” It begins with self-attribution.

The Sins of Pharoah and Qarun

The same thing happened to Qarun who was from the Umma of Musa, peace be upon him. What was the worst thing that he said? The people said about him: “Look how great he is, and he has all of this. We wish we had like the same as Qarun.” And Qarun says: “I have been given this because of my knowledge. I have been given this because I did things right.” He’s attributing it to himself. And Allah destroyed him. The earth enveloped him and swallowed him.

The same thing happened to Pharaoh. He said ana in the worst way: ana rabbukum. Not even Satan could say that. Pharoah said: “I am your lord.” Again, the ana gets involved.

Taking all of these things into consideration you come to no other conclusion than that the worst thing that can happen to someone is they have this ana, this jabarut, this tyrannical overtaking of themselves by themselves. Because of what they attribute to what they think they’ve done, what they think they deserve, what they think they’re entitled to.

But then it gets worse.

وَدَخَلَ جَنَّتَهُ وَهُوَ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ قَالَ مَا أَظُنُّ أَن تَبِيدَ هَـٰذِهِ أَبَدًا

And he went into his garden, while he is wronging himself. He said: I don’t think that all of this will ever perish. (Sura al Kahf 18:35)

He is only wronging himself, at the end of the day, for when you say something wrong or do something wrong the one who’s going to pay the highest price is yourself. One of the things that happens when people start attributing things to themselves as they become deluded and they think: “I’m always going to be like this.” These are things people take for granted.

And then finally the culmination:

وَمَا أَظُنُّ السَّاعَةَ قَائِمَةً وَلَئِن رُّدِدتُّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّي لَأَجِدَنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهَا مُنقَلَبًا

I don’t think not that the Hour will ever come, and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord I surely shall find better than this as a resort. (Sura al Kahf 18:36)

Denying Allah’s Blessing

The denial of the blessing from Allah Most High leads to the denial of Allah. Because when you deny the Day of Judgment you deny Allah. This is serious kufr. You don’t think Allah has better than what you think you have here? And you don’t think the Hour is coming?

But notice the tasalsul – the chain. See how one step leads to another. First he says: “I’m better than you because I have more than you.” Then he says: “I don’t think it will ever go away.” And finally: “I don’t even think even the Hour will come. I think this is it and I have everything.”

Then his Sahib, his friend, comes back to him.

قَالَ لَهُ صَاحِبُهُ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَكَفَرْتَ بِالَّذِي خَلَقَكَ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ سَوَّاكَ رَجُلًا

His comrade, when he spoke with him, said: Do you not believe in Him Who created you of dust, then of a drop [of seed], and then fashioned you a man? (Sura al Kahf 18:37)

The Duty of Care

Here is an important point. Allah says: His friend or companion said when he spoke with him (yuhawiruhu). The word yuhawiruhu means he is having a discourse with him. He didn’t say: “O my God! are you like a kafir? What the heck? Are we not brothers? How could you say this?” No, he actually has a concerned discourse.

Moses was called upon by Allah Most High to speak in soft tones to Pharaoh. So what about this person and his brother? He’s no worse than Pharaoh. Even in those things that may come out that are shocking, whether we hear from a Muslim or non-Muslim, sometimes people just say things to shock and sometimes they don’t know what they’re saying.

Rather than condemn them to hell as may be the initial impulse, let’s try to save them from hell first. This is what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to make him think, to reconsider what he just said. He’s not just bringing him back to his own creation. He’s bringing him back to the creation of Adam, peace be upon him, because the gardener wasn’t created from dust or dirt, our father Adam was.

Back to the Beginning

This is kind of an overture to how we all actually began. That we came from dirt, from our father Adam, peace be upon him. And then after that we became the pollinated seed from the mother and the father. Then he made you into a man. So when you’re developing inside and you’re an embryo, then become a fetus, and then you go through these three stages of development, did you do that yourself? Is that all about you?

Should you be someone who is haughty and arrogant because you did that and it was perfect? What is difference between you and the fetus and the perfection therein and all of the resources that the fetus the baby needs are perfectly provided much in the same way that your garden is working?

The companion is appealing to the gardener’s intellect. He’s appealing to his sense of recognizing inherent truth when you’re presented with it. He implores him to reconsider his words and gives him a parable. And then he is emphatic:

لَّـٰكِنَّا هُوَ اللَّـهُ رَبِّي وَلَا أُشْرِكُ بِرَبِّي أَحَدًا

But He is Allah, my Lord, and I ascribe unto my Lord no partner. (Sura al Kahf 18:38)

Gratitude Is the Way

What is the conclusion? Well, if Allah created you from dust, and then from a single seed, and then made you into a man – and only a God can do that and no one else – then why scribes partners with that or why ascribe that to yourself? Hence your assertion is false. It can’t be right.

And then he tells the gardener what he should have said.

وَلَوْلَا إِذْ دَخَلْتَ جَنَّتَكَ قُلْتَ مَا شَاءَ اللَّـهُ لَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّـهِ ۚ إِن تَرَنِ أَنَا أَقَلَّ مِنكَ مَالًا وَوَلَدًا

If only, when you entered your garden, you had said: That which Allah wills (will come to pass)! There is no strength save in Allah! Though you see me as less than you in wealth and children… (Sura al Kahf 18:39)

Here he says: Contrast what you said before with what I would have said as a believer. If you had entered your garden and said: ma sha Allah, la quwwata illa biLlah – this is by Allah’s mercy, this is by Allah’s will, there is no power and there is no strength except through Allah, then you recognize this blessing.

He is teaching the gardener how to capture the blessing. This ayah is like a madrassa – it’s a school in the sense of all the meanings that come out of it. And you can see its manifestations. When you say: ma sha Allah, la quwwata illa biLlah, this is called tying up your blessing. Make sure it doesn’t go away.

How do you tie up your blessing? By recognizing it. How do you increase your blessing? By thanking Allah.

لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ

And if you are thankful then I will only increase you. (Sura Ibrahim 14:17)


This lesson by Shaykh Walead Mosaad is part of the On Demand Course: Giving Life to Sura Al Kahf, in which Shaykh Walead explains the key lessons of Sura al Kahf: the four great stories in it and the four great tests they represent. Namely the tests of faith, wealth, knowledge, and power. Download the entire lesson-set here.

View other SeekersHub On Demand Courses here.


Nasheed Hub: Qad Kafani

The Nasheed Hub, an initiative of SeekersHub Global, aims to showcase the traditional Islamic art of nasheed, or Islamic devotional songs.

Qad Kafani

Qad Kafani Ilm Rabbi (My Lord’s Knowledge Has Sufficed Me)  is a beautiful nasheed, written by the great Imam al-Haddad in the 17th century. It takes the singer to a journey from neediness to fulfillment, and connection to Allah. The author begins by expressing his need to his Lord. He prays for his need to be fulfilled, while using the symbolism of a door to express that he is waiting for Allah’s answer. He knows that Allah is All-Knowing, and knows all his worries and fears. He is supplicating to his Lord to express his need and humility.Qad Kafani

Halfway through the poem, the singer senses a feeling of desperation. Either the author is losing hope, or his circumstances are getting worse and worse. He asks Allah to bring aid swiftly, before he runs out of patience.

A few line later, the tone changes. He attains realization, he says, through his brokenness and poverty. He realizes that the important thing isn’t so much his needs being met, but that he stays at the door of Allah.

Sometimes your salvation won’t be through your sucess, it will be through your seeking.

Click on the image below to scroll
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About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilizations of Islam, the vocal tradition, sometimes known as nasheed or devotional songs, were penned as a way of celebrating and giving thanks to Allah for the message of Islam, as well as for the Messenger himself.
These nasheeds were a way for people to turn towards their Lord in joyful celebration, rather than stringent routine. They were also tools to spread the message of Islam in a non-confrontational way. These nasheeds were able to reach out to those who were alienated or indifferent to the religion and the Muslim community, as well as to teach children who were too young for academic study.
These nasheeds originating from all corners of the Muslim world – from West Africa to Malaysia, from Turkey to Great Britian – mirror their own culture but all carry a common thread: love of Allah and His Messenger.
This series will explore the different nasheeds, penned by some of the great historical Muslim figures, poets, and scholars.


Resources for Seekers

 

 

Taqwa: Content of Character 05 – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus unfolds the essential etiquette we should have with our Lord, with ourselves, and with other people as is found in the concept of taqwa.

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم: اتّق الله حيثما كنتَ و أتبع السيئة الحسنة تمحها و خالق الناس حسن

The Messenger of God said, “Keep God in mind wherever you are; follow a wrong with a right that offsets it; and treat people courteously.” (Tirmidhi)

In this hadith our Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, is telling us about the three dimensions of etiquette (adab) that we need to have. First and foremost with our lord, secondly with ourselves, and thirdly with people.

This hadith is from the comprehensive words of our Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and you will find that it is a very short hadith. But because it is from his comprehensive words, it is packed with meaning.

Centrality of Taqwa

If we look at the benefits, the first is in the primary etiquette that we should have with our Lord. This is reflected in the words of our Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, “Have taqwa of Allah wherever you are,” and taqwa is a difficult word to translate.

Some translate it as mindfulness. Others translate as God consciousness. Yet others will translate it as fear of Allah. However, taqwa is a very important word and I think it is best that we use the word taqwa, and define what it means, until it actually becomes a word in the English language.

Taqwa is of the utmost importance. The reality of taqwa pertains to our relationship with our Lord, praise be to Him, and the decisions that we make. It begins at the basic level with protecting ourselves from anything that would take us outside of the fold of Islam. And it ends in the highest degree where we try to be constantly present with our Lord, praise be to Him.

Inclination and Aversion

What our Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, is teaching us in this hadith is a very subtle etiquette, and we should have taqwa wherever we might be. Think about our own selves and all the different places and times we might be in – by ourselves or with other people. We could be at work or at home, with friends, acquaintances or elders. We can be in times of ease or in times of difficulty. In all of this our nafs inclines or has an aversion towards something.

In all these different states, times and places, what has to be consistent is that we have to be people of taqwa. Taqwa is a very sophisticated reality and it pertains to the way that we ultimately exercise our freedom of choice and choosing what is right or, as we move up in the degrees of closeness to Allah, what is best.

We need to avoid having compartmentalized lifestyles which is so common in the world which we live. We think it is fine for us to focus on one aspect of our lives only. We can be different at home as opposed to the way that we are in the mosque, or as opposed to the way that we are at work.

A Comprehensive Religion

Islam is a comprehensive religion that deals with every aspect of the human being. We want to avoid having compartmentalized lifestyles. Rather, we want to have taqwa at work, at home, at the masjid, in our financial dealings and interactions with people. Even when we are going through difficult times and times of ease, whether we like or dislike something.

Taqwa remains in all of these different states and our Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, is teaching us that this is what we need to be aware of at all times, because we know that as human beings we are weak and we fall short in this. Educating us and teaching us, The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, is exemplifying how we should be before our Lord in a way that is pleasing to Him and brings about His pleasure.

Never Lose Hope in Your Lord

The benefits of taqwa are so vast we can go on about them. Allah mentions taqwa more than ninety times in His Book and if we trace the verses that pertain to taqwa, you will end up with a long list of great things that Allah gives to the people of taqwa.

The first benefit of this hadith is teaching us how to be with our Lord. The Primary aspect of that is taqwa. Secondly, it teaches us how we should be with our own selves. These are the words of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace: “follow a wrong with a right that offsets it.”

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, is teaching us how to deal with our selves, particularly when we slip up. We know, as children of Adam, we are prone to slip ups. We are prone to mistakes and we know that we have faults that we are working on. But we fall short at times.

Our Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, teaches us that: Every time you fall short, immediately dust yourself off and keep moving forward. This is extremely important. This is essential and this will protect us from so many things that other people fall into, whereby they become depressed, lose hope in life and they start to spiral downwards from that.

How many people do we not come across who, because of their past and the things they have done, lose hope for the future? But in reality we’ve only lost if when cease to dust ourselves off, get up and keep moving on. Every time you fall short, dust yourself off, and keep on.

The Blessing of Good Deeds

Our Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, teaches us that we should immediately follow a bad deed up with a good deed, so the latter will erase the former. It will erase it from our scrolls and it will also erase the traces of that mistake or that sin from our hearts.

In other words it will be erased from our psychological profiles so even if it was us, we didn’t do it because it no longer will cease to be us. It will no longer will be us because it was erased from our hearts and our scrolls.

Allah says in Sura Hud 11:114:

إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ

Indeed, good deeds do away with bad deeds.

Kaffara – Atonement

On the occasion of revelation of this verse, a man that had embraced a woman came to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and informed him and this verse was revealed. The man asked, “Is this in reference to me?” And the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “This is not just for you. It is for all of my Umma.” And this man was sincere.

He realized he did something with a woman he shouldn’t do and so he came to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. And Allah revealed this verse for him in on this occasion, but also for all people. To inform them that every time you make a mistake and fall short you should strive to immediately do something good.

The Prophet told us in a hadith that the five daily prayers, jumu‘a to jumu‘a, Ramadan to Ramadan, are an atonement for sins accumulated in between them, if the major wrong actions are avoided. So from the blessing of performing what it is that we are supposed to be performing is that it will be an atonement in and of itself.

This atonement will again be a means of forgiveness for the sin and erasing of the blemish of sin that is in our hearts. In other words our hearts will be polished and we will be able to move forward on our path to Allah.

Engage with Courteousness

The third etiquette relates to other people this is the primary principal that we should interact with all people with and that is good character. Our Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said “Interact with people with good character, treat people courteously.”

Notice that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said “khaliqin naas.” Treat people courteously, not just Muslims courteously. We should treat all people courteously. We should have manners and respect for all the people we interact with.

This principle of good character should guide us in everything we do. Again, when we are with people – if they are Muslim or non-Muslim, old or young, close or distant, and all of the other social distinctions that we have – does not matter. We maintain good character with everyone.

This is a constant. This is a standard. And the ethical standards of the Qur’an are very. very high. Read the book of Allah. It is filled with great passages and great verses that pertain to good character.

Every time we read those verses we should apply them to ourselves instead of trying to bring the Qur’an down to our own lowly selves, which you can never do and is a grave mistake. We should raise ourselves up to the ethical standards of the Qur’an.

Alhamdulillah, we have been gifted our Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, who gave us the great words of advice. Words that are from his comprehensive words, Allah bless him and give him peace, teaching us that the essential etiquette with our lord is to have taqwa. The essential etiquette with ourselves is to follow up a bad deed with a good deed. And the essential etiquette in our dealings with other people is to have good character.

 


The Content of Character podcast is brought to you by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus of Al-Maqasid Institute, and powered by SeekersHub Global Islamic Seminary. Listen to this episode in full on the SeekersHub website, or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Android, or RSS.


 

Qari Mouhamed Hady Toure Reads from Al Zumar and Yusuf

Qari and Hafiz Mouhamed Hady Toure’s beautiful readings of Sura al Zumar 39:75 and Sura Yusuf 12:23.

Sura al Zumar 39:75

وَتَرَى الْمَلَائِكَةَ حَافِّينَ مِنْ حَوْلِ الْعَرْشِ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ ۖ وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَقِيلَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِي

And you shall see the angels encircling the Throne proclaiming the praise of their Lord; and justly the issue shall be decided between them; and it shall be said, “Praise belongs to God, the Lord of all Being.”

Sura Yusuf 12:23

وَرَاوَدَتْهُ الَّتِي هُوَ فِي بَيْتِهَا عَن نَّفْسِهِ وَغَلَّقَتِ الْأَبْوَابَ وَقَالَتْ هَيْتَ لَكَ ۚ قَالَ مَعَاذَ اللَّـهِ ۖ إِنَّهُ رَبِّي أَحْسَنَ مَثْوَايَ ۖ إِنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الظَّالِمُونَ

Now the woman in whose house he was solicited him, and closed the doors on them. “Come,” she said, “take me!” “God be my refuge,” he said. “Surely my lord has given me a goodly lodging. Surely the evildoers do not prosper.”

A Note on Variant Readings

Regarding Sura Yusuf 12:23, Abu Dawud reports:

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو مَعْمَرٍ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَمْرِو بْنِ أَبِي الْحَجَّاجِ الْمِنْقَرِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْوَارِثِ، حَدَّثَنَا شَيْبَانُ، عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ شَقِيقٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ، أَنَّهُ قَرَأَ ‏{‏ هَيْتَ لَكَ ‏}‏ فَقَالَ شَقِيقٌ إِنَّا نَقْرَؤُهَا ‏{‏ هِئْتُ لَكَ ‏}‏ يَعْنِي فَقَالَ ابْنُ مَسْعُودٍ أَقْرَؤُهَا كَمَا عُلِّمْتُ أَحَبُّ إِلَىَّ ‏.

From Abu Mu‘mar Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn Abi al Hajjaj al Munqari, from Abd al Warith, from Shayban, from Al A‘mash, from Shaqiq, from [Abd Allah] ibn Mas‘ud that he read “Come now, you!” (hayta laka). Shaqiq said: We read it “I am ready for you” (hi’tu laka). Ibn Mas‘ud said: We read it as we have been taught it. It is dearer to us. (Kitab al Huruf wa al Qira‘at)


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