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Day 11: Get Rid of Envy – 30 Deeds 30 Days

Day 11: Get Rid of Envy

Envy is a combination of different vices. When we envy someone, we have greed and entitlement for what someone else has. We could also feel some enmity towards them. But the biggest problem, is that we are essentially discontent with Allah’s decree. Envy isn’t just an abstract sin. It has the uncanny ability to take over your life, make you extremely unhappy, and ruin your relationships. We also know that envy burns good deeds like fire burns wood.envy

This Ramadan, get rid of envy. When you feel the taste of it in your heart, deal with it immediately. Make a dua for that person, such as “O Allah, give them more and give me more.” By making dua sincerely, Allah will assist you in purifying yourself, and becoming a healthier, happier person.


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

True Hunger vs. The Greed of Our Stomachs, by Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa

Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa explains the meaning of true hunger where your body is truly calling for food rather than being driven by your desires.

Resources for seekers

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Putting Shoes On Our Heads, Counsel from Habib Ali Al-Jifri

Habib Ali al-Jifri asks us to imagine if someone walked into a room and placed his shoes on top of his head. What would we think of him? We would think he was crazy or if we had a good opinion, we might say he’s just trying to make us laugh.

This dunya is like a pair of shoes

It’s a funny analogy but in actual fact, we are all constantly “putting shoes on our heads”. This world, the dunya, is like a pair of shoes and our dogged pursuit of fleeting worldly achievements, such as rank, status, popularity, possessions and wealth – is akin to putting shoes on our head.

The Best for Mankind, by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Allah wanted us to be the best of mankind FOR mankind! The nature of this dunya encourages us to cooperate and live together, as Allah (Most High) said in Surah Al-Maidah (2):  “And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.”  Allah (Most High) created us to be together on earth; we need to support each other and to hold each other’s hand in this path.

The-name-of-Allah-1Allah (Most High) has said that He has made us the best Ummah (Surah Al-Imran, 110), but being the best is actually not in it of itself, but rather it is being the best for mankind.  It is to be the best in guiding, helping, serving and being there as a support for mankind.

That being said, help may only be sought from those who are able to support others, and only people with the purest and kindest of hearts can be in a position of supporting and helping others.  That is why the best Ummah is that with the best of characters.

Allah (Most High) praised Rasulullah (peace be upon him) for his great and exalted character in Surah Al-Qalam (4): “Indeed , you are of great and exalted character.”  Rasulullah (peace be upon him) also told us that the most beloved to him are those with the greatest of akhlaq (characters or manners).  [at-Tabarani, Al-Awsat, 7697]

Having the best of akhlaq is one of the purposes of this deen!

In correcting, maintaining and improving ourselves, we often mistakenly look at the symptoms of our illness, rather than treating the cause of our sins.  In looking at the causes of all sin and evil, our Ulama say the source of all sin and evil are three things:


Arrogance

Arrogance was the first sin to be committed, and was done so by iblis. Because of his arrogance, he refused the command of Allah (Most High) to make sujud for Adam (May Allah be pleased with him). Arrogance is not a visible attribute, but rather an internal attribute that manifests itself in actions and words.  When someone feels that he or she is better than everyone else, or when someone feels so happy and content with themselves to the extent that they think that there is no one like them; these are aspects of arrogance.  These forms of arrogance can lead someone to be like firoun (the pharaoh), who thought he was a god.  It can even lead people to be like the Quraysh, who saw Rasulullah (peace be upon him) only as an orphan, and thought it was not possible for him to be chosen as a Prophet, especially because they felt they held greater status.

The heart of an arrogant person is always filled with hatred.  That is why Allah (Most High) said in Surah Al-Araf (146):

“I will turn away from My signs those who are arrogant upon the earth without right; and if they should see every sign, they will not believe in it. And if they see the way of consciousness, they will not adopt it as a way; but if they see the way of error, they will adopt it as a way. That is because they have denied Our signs and they were heedless of them.”

Allah (Most High) also says in Surah An-Nahl (23):  “Assuredly, Allah knows what they conceal and what they declare. Indeed, He does not like the arrogant.”

Rasulullah (peace be upon him) also mentioned, as narrated in Sahih Muslim, that no one shall enter Jannah even with a half an atom’s weight of arrogance in their heart!

 

Greed

Adam (May Allah be pleased with him) left Jannah due to greed, as Allah (Most High) says in Surah Taha (120):  “Then Satan whispered to him; he said, “O Adam, shall I direct you to the tree of eternity and possession that will not deteriorate?” Even though Adam was told not to eat from the tree, he ate because he was promised a eternity, and because of this desire, he was removed from Jannah.

Rasulullah (peace be upon him) mentioned, as narrated in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, that mankind becomes old, but two things do not age with him, greed for wealth and greed for a longer life.

Allah (Most High) tells us in Surah Az-Zumar (30):  “Indeed, you are to die, and indeed, they are to die.”  We forget this reality, and instead we want to have more of everything.  Allah (Most High) also reminds us of this in the following ayahs:

“Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.” (Surah Al-Imran, 114)

“Indeed, Allah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”  (Surah Luqman, 34)

“And for every nation is a [specified] term. So when their time has come, they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede [it].”(Surah Al-Araf, 34)

We should also remember the Hadith that was narrated by Abdullah ibn Omar (May Allah be pleased with him) when Rasulullah (peace be upon him) told him to be like a wayfarer in this dunya.

Also, we should remember the words of Imam Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) when he said dunya is travelling away from us, and, as such, dunya has given us its back, but al akhira is travelling towards us; both dunya and al akhira have children, so be from the children of al akhira, because no action is taken without accountability, for tomorrow there is only accountability!

 

Hasad (jealousy and envy)

Hasad is the very trait that Allah (Most High) asked us to seek refuge from in the verse of Surah Al-Falaq.  Hasad is also the first sin to be committed by the children of Adam, when Cain killed Abel out of jealousy, and it is the worst of attributes.  Hasad is when you see all that is good as being deserved by you and no one else!  Allah (Most High), by relating to us the story of the children of Adam, is telling us the extent that people can go to via hasad, and the level of crime that hasad may cause them to commit.

In speaking about hasad, Allah (Most High) mentions in Surah An-Nisa (54-55):

“Or do they envy people for what Allah has given them of His bounty? But we had already given the family of Abraham the Scripture and wisdom and conferred upon them a great kingdom.”

Rasulullah (peace be upon him) also mentioned in a Hadith narrated in Bukhari and Muslim, that we should not hate each other, have jealousy or envy, turn our back on others, and should not cut our relations; rather, we should be in the slavehood of Allah (Most High) as brothers.

fire-burn-woodIn a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him), in Sunan Abu Dawood, Rasulullah (peace be upon him) mentioned that we should be away and warn from hasad, as hasad can do to hasanat (good deeds) what fire does to wood.

Also, Syedina Hasan (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I have never seen an oppressor who looks like he is being oppressed!  This is the reality of hasad; you see the people of hasad always upset and crying upon seeing the khair in others.

Abdullah ibn Masud (May Allah be pleased with him) also mentioned that we should not be the enemy of the blessing of Allah (Most High), as those who have hasad towards what Allah (Most High) has given others.  The problem of hasad is not the fact that one is jealous or envious of a particular person, but rather it is having issue with Allah’s (Most High) decree!

All three attributes mentioned rotate and serve one another.

May Allah (Most High) remove from us all these blameworthy attributes, and may Allah (Most High) fill our hearts with His love and the love of Rasulullah (peace be upon him). May Rabbi guide us, and may He make us the Ummah that spreads khair and helps everyone, and in doing so, is the best FOR mankind!

Are We Beyond Slavery? Not even close.

In the first of a series of articles, Qanit Takmeel puts forth the proposition that slavery, contrary to popular opinion, is very much alive. Rasoolullah’s (upon whom be peace) time in this duniya was limited, however, his ummah is expected to inherit the mission, and see it through, to fruition. Allah Most High says, “And we have not sent you [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” So, it only behooves us as Muslims today, who claim that we love a man, whom we never met in person, more that our mothers, that we manifest our love for him (upon whom be peace) by establishing what he (upon whom be peace) sought to do, even before that fateful hug from Gabriel (upon whom be peace) – fight for social justice.

“Since when did you enslave people though they were born free of their mothers in freedom” – Amir al Mu’mineen Abu Hafs Umar ibn al-Khattab

lisa_kristine_human_slavery_14As I sat in the mosque with two Muslim brothers, waiting for Isha, I noticed that one of them referred to the other as Bilal. Upon enquiry, I was told, “Because he is black and Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) was black”. This hurt me, because a little more than half a decade ago, when I was flirting with the idea of Islam, it was Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) who was shown to me in my dream… I don’t remember his skin colour, but I do remember beautiful eyes and an even more beautiful voice proclaiming Allahu Akbar (God is great).

And here I was sitting in a company that had reduced the great companion of Rasoolullah (saw) to a mere skin colour. His struggles in the burning sands of Arabia, with a rock on his chest, with every whip taking part of his skin and exposing his flesh to the dry desert sand, his cries of Ahadun Ahad that reverberated through the streets of Makkah, that were to eventually become the battle cry in Badr, had been forgotten. To me, that distinguishment based on skin colour are remnants of slavery.

Merely chattel slavery is a thing of the past

However, the idea that one person is inferior to another, based on his or her birth, over which he or she had no choice over, is far more pervasive than the mere personal conversation that I recorded above. Among the greatest misconceptions of today in every society is that slavery is a thing of the past. What people mean by that, however, is that chattel slavery is a thing of the past. Slavery, in its core, warrants the belief that a person is inferior to the other, and therefore, partial or complete ownership over the person can be exercised by the “superior” person. In the 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery of the United Nations, forced or compulsory labour, debt bondage, serfdom, servile marriage, child servitude, and trafficking were included in the definition of slavery.

I have heard firsthand accounts of farmers in India, taking loans from moneylenders at abnormally high interest rates (at times, 400%) who have been forced to sell their daughters or wives to the moneylenders, so that the moneylenders could make money off them. The issue of farmers committing suicide to escape money lenders, and at times the trauma of having to sell their daughters and wives to settle debts is not uncommon (1).

HumansOfNewYork-Pakistan-SlaveryHumans of New York in August ran a series of posts about brick kilns in Pakistan, and how men and women, for generations are forced into debt slavery. Forced marriages is common across many societies, developing and developed. The developing world is replete with stories of children being forced into bonded labour. Perhaps, the most pitiable of these situations is human trafficking, which according to the US State Department’s 2010 Human Trafficking Report, contributes to the disruption of 12.3 million lives each year. More than half the victims are women, followed by children, who are eventually forced into bonded labour or prostitution.

The situation worsens if one looks at some of the regions of the world torn up by civil strife or war. For example, close to 50,000 women who fled Iraq and entered Syria, were forced to become prostitutes to sustain themselves. In my personal conversations with Ahmed Elkhaldy, Director of Community Development at Mercy Without Limits, many Syrian widows, in desperation to feed their children have taken up prostitution in Jordan and Lebanon.

Ubiquitous in the Muslim world

While these social issues, which fall under the definition of slavery, exist worldwide, their presence in the Muslim world seems to be ubiquitous. For example, in Saudi Arabia, the kidnapping and sexual exploitation of women from Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria, and other countries is commonplace. The inability of Muslim societies in a post-colonial era to have conversations in an academic manner, the taboo associated with such conversations in our societies, and social stigma (ref: 2 to 5) which prevents victims from speaking up are among the main reasons that have made these social injustices ubiquitous in the Muslim world.

This situation is ironical since among the maqasid of Islam is the elimination of slavery, and Rasoolullah (saw), via divine guidance had sought to eliminate each of the categories of slavery mentioned in the 1956 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery. The hadiths about the rewards of foregoing a debt, about helping another to pay off his debt, about freeing a slave, and the like are many.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A man would give loans to the people and he would say to his servant: If the debtor is in hardship you should forgive the debt that perhaps Allah will relieve us. So when he met Allah, then Allah relieved him.” Sahih Bukhari.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever alleviates [the situation of] one in dire straits who cannot repay his debt, Allah will alleviate his lot in both this world and the Hereafter.” Sahih Muslim

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Whoever frees a Muslim slave, Allah will save all the parts of his body from the (Hell) Fire as he has freed the body-parts of the slave.” Sahih Bukhari

Salman al-Farsi (ra) and Zaid ibn Haritha (ra) were, in effect, victims of human trafficking. Saffiyyah bin Huyyay (ra) and Juwayriyyah bint al-Harith (ra) could have ended up in the situation of the thousands of refugee women, but instead, Rasoolullah (saw) gave them the ultimate honour.

Allah Most High says, “Righteousness is in… giving wealth… for freeing slaves” in Sūrat al-Baqarah. Perhaps discussions among the ulema on the freeing of slaves in modern times, and whether freeing each one of these slaves would be considered a kaffara needs to be held. But on a more personal level, since slavery and consumerism have been undeniably linked (ref: 6 to 8), next time someone has the urge to throw away a plate of food, it would do well to remember that a farmer somewhere spent four months in growing that. Or before disposing off a perfectly fine electronic gadget, one should remember the factory worker in China. Or before buying clothes that we don’t need, we should remember our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh, working in inhumane conditions, to make that bit of clothing.

References

1. R. Schurman, Journal of Peasant Studies 2013, 40, 597.
2. R. Weitzer, Politics & Society 2007, 35, 447.
3. J. Doezema, Gender Issues 1999, 18, 23.
4. S. Huda, International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 2006, 94, 374.
5. J. Chuang, Harvard Human Rights Journal 1998,
6. B. Heath, African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter 1997, 4, 1.
7. Z. Bauman, Work, Consumerism and the New Poor, Open University Press, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, 2005.
8. C. Parfait, The Publishing History of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1852-2002, Ashgate, Aldershot, Hampshire, England, 2007.

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Habib Umar – Cautioning Against Greed and Materialism in Australia

Greed and materialism blamed for world woes – The National Newspaper

Conquering the pernicious greed that has savaged the global economy and curbing rampant materialism have been among the key messages brought to Australia by one of the eminent scholars of Islam, Sheikh Habib Umar Bin Salim Bin Hafiz.

Sheikh Umar has spoken to packed mosques and halls in Sydney during a hectic and much anticipated week-long Australian tour that also includes events in Brisbane and Melbourne.

To his supporters, the Yemeni-born cleric is a charismatic and revered descendant of the Prophet Mohammed.

To an enthralled audience of mostly Muslim students crammed into a lecture theatre at the University of Technology, Sydney, he emphasised the critical importance of self-control in suppressing the demons of selfish consumption.

“Those people who believe that this life is just a material existence will find that history has recorded many failures from them in the past and also in the present,” said the softly spoken religious leader, his words in Arabic translated by a colleague.

“They have lost their values and in so doing have lost their very humanity and need to be emancipated from this material cage into a realm which is vast and more sublime.

“The greed for money that is unchecked will produce the likes of the current financial crisis that we see now, just as it has in previous times.”

Speaking after his 40-minute address, he insisted that an insatiable desire for wealth was a cancer that had to be removed.

“When greed and avarice exist within a human being and they don’t have control over them, this person will try to devise ways to bring wealth by any means. So, perhaps they won’t mind if they have to be treacherous or plotting nor will they mind if they harm others. These are powerful causes that lead to any crisis,” he said.

Tyranny, he said, along with Aids, were the result of “the diseases of the human soul” and he was waiting for “a spiritual rain to descend” to wash away such ills.

His ideas have fallen on fertile ground. Australia’s 350,000 Muslims have often felt victimised at the hands of mainstream society following the attacks in New York and the Pentagon on September 11, and, for some, Sheikh Umar’s tour has been an opportunity to re-energise their faith.

“I’ve heard so much about this wonderful, wonderful person,” said Farah, a 23-year-old arts student. “He is a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. The way he talks is just so amazing, it is so humble, so beautiful and to be in his presence is just an inspiration. He is someone we can learn from.”

Ghassan Baghdadi, 31, who is studying ancient history, was equally enthusiastic about Sheikh Umar’s visit. “I have come seeking more spiritual knowledge and guidance. He is a very different type of Sheikh to what we usually get from other imams. His message is deeper, more spiritual. It’s been a privilege to be here.”

“The world needs more spiritualism,” Mr Baghdadi added. “When you are at peace with yourself, you can accomplish more when you have a clearer mind, a clearer view of life.”

Sara, a 19-year-old law student, said, “Spirituality is not just important to Muslims but even non-Muslims can appreciate the messages he sends across because it is all about humanity and love for the planet, so it is pretty good. Everyone can get something out of it.”

Sheikh Umar lives in the community where he was born in southern Yemen, the ancient town of Tarim that sits in the Hadhramaut Valley, which is steeped in rich theological and academic history.

As a young man, he saw his father, a distinguished scholar, abducted by communist forces. He has never been seen since, and Sheikh Umar has assumed the
responsibility of continuing his father’s work in the field of Da’wah, which promotes and spreads the word of Islam.

His missionary fervour has taken him to all corners of the globe, from the House of Lords in Britain to Africa and the Gulf States as well as Pakistan and Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim democracy.

Islamic groups in Australia regard his lecture tour as a chance for Muslims to reaffirm their beliefs that can often weaken under the pressures of modern, western life, according to Ramzi Elsayed, president of the Islamic Council of Victoria.

“He is in the business of connecting people with our creator and god and reviving their spirituality. In a day and age when people are spiritually malnourished, he brings out in people a feeling they don’t often get and that guidance is being embraced.”

“We do find that when we get speakers and scholars of his calibre, it is a big morale boost to the Muslim community. It is uplifting and these messages will linger.”