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All That Remained – Navigating Dementia With Faith

A student observes his grandmother dealing with dementia, and discovers the one thing that remains with her as her memory slowly fades.dementia

Dementia is a heartbreaking illness. It impairs a person’s ability to think, changes their personality, and can cause them to forget their most beloved ones. In times of hardship, when all else is stripped away, true character shines through. Some conditions, like personality changes, are not the person’s fault. But Allah is never far, and He manifests His mercy in amazing ways.

In the early 60s a pious woman, married a simple bus driver in Pakistan. Three weeks later, she relocated to the United Kingdom, where she is now the matriarch of over 30 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Now in her eighties and despite her age and her deteriorating health, she remains steadfast in her prayers and fasting, seems to constantly be in a state of Dhikr, and is often reading the Qur’an. She is always present for family events, whether they be weddings, funerals, mawlids or casual get-togethers.

For decades she would cook and serve food to the entire family, always offering to serve others. Her food was not just tasty, but had a lot of love and baraka in it.

But dementia has taken its toll on her life, and she is unable to do many of the things she once enjoyed. She recently asked one of her daughters, my aunt, “How many children do I have?” and on another occasion, “How many children do you have?” In addition, I once overheard my uncle say that it’s difficult to plan trips and outings, because she will forget about it when it’s time to go.

When dementia strips a personality down to the bare bones, it reveals what lies underneath. The night before my brother’s wedding, she came to stay at our house, and Allah showed me her rank. I was reading from Sura al-Baqara, the longest chapter of the Qur’an, while she was lying down alongside me. She seemed to be dozing, oblivious to what I was doing. Suddenly, she shouted out and grabbed me on the arm.

At first, I was confused as to what she was doing until I rechecked the verse and discovered that I had mispronounced one of the letters. I reread the word correctly and she nodded and allowed me to continue. I thought it was a coincidence, or that maybe I had been reading a verse that she knew well. But a few minutes later, she woke up again when I’d made another mistake, and she corrected me again in the same way. She corrected me in the same manner that Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa corrects those who slip up while reciting a mawlid.

She has not memorized the Qur’an, nor is she a scholar of tajwid. Yet somehow, she sensed my mistake and been able to correct me. I always knew that she had a love for the Qur’an. It amazed me how Allah had beautifully preserved her memory for His Book, even as the memories of her own children faded.

My grandmother is now entering into the final chapters of her life. We pray that Allah grants her a good end and a felicitous entry into Paradise, by His Grace.

By Zaid Malik


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Am I a Kafir for Not loving Allah?

Ustadh Farid Dingle advises on feeling no love for Allah and how to rectify this.

I used to love Allah but my iman got weaker and now I feel indifferent to Allah. I don’t love or hate Him. Partly because I used to blame Allah for things. This is a real lack of love, not just waswasa or a dip in iman.

Is it kufr to truly not love Allah? Please answer me immediately.

Belief in Allah means that you know He exists and accept it as a fact. This is called iman. If you do this, you are a believer.

Whether one fears, loves, reveres, or hopes in Him as you really should, is another issue. Worshipping Allah as you really should is called ihsan.

Please see Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s Commentary on the Hadith of Gibril for more detail.

It is not disbelief (kufr) to not love Allah, but it is sin and lack of ihsan that one must strive to work on. If you don’t feel like you fear or love Allah, at least act like you do, because the hand teaches the heart.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Iman Beyond the Masjid by Shaykh Ahmed Abdo

What is Iman beyond the masjid? Look to the Messenger of God, peace and blessings upon him, and he will light the way, says Shaykh Ahmed Abdo.

If the light of the sinning believer was revealed the light would envelop the entire universe, what then of the light of the Muslim who is in obedience? And what is the source of this light?

It is the sacred way and tradition of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. His living is good for us, and his death is good for us.

Allah, Sublime and Majestic, granted his noble Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, the concern and authority to view the actions of his Umma and when he sees that which is good he praises his Lord, and when he sees other than good, our noble messenger seeks forgiveness on our behalf.

Step One: Go to the Highest Authority. Go to Allah’s Messenger

We take example from the noble lady Fatima al Zahra who went to her father for all things that happened in her life. In times of worry, in times of pain or suffering, Fatima went to the noble messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him.

When in need go to the Messenger of Allah. He will bring you ease and solve your problems. Go by means of sending blessings. Remember him, send peace and blessings upon him, and he will seek assistance for you.

Follow in his footsteps, and he will light your way. Adorn yourself with his manners and you will be illumined. Then the light of Faith sets in the heart and manifests in every place and action.

Step Two: Seek to become like him

In following in his noble footsteps one learns to live fully. One learns to live faith. Footstep by footstep, day by day one remembers Allah. Faith is the everyday when fueled by intentions.

Every moment is an opportunity to illuminate all of your affairs. An opportunity to bring blessings into your life.

In following in his noble footsteps, in uttering his blessed words and doing what he has done, blessings and peace be upon him, one becomes alive to the reality of existing for Allah. Rejoice in the illumination of faith.

Resources for Seekers:

We are grateful to Othman Bin Affan Cabramatta Mosque for the video.

Faith and Certitude – Ramadan Renewal Xtra

Struggling to keep on top of your podcast subscriptions? SeekersHub Ramadan Renewal Xtra offers you a bitesize summary of each night’s lessons at SeekersHub Toronto this Ramadan. Catch up on the essential lessons, captured by our media team in this special episode.

Keys to Having Presence with God, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

“He is with you wherever you may be,” reminds Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, in this Friday sermon  at Masjid Jamiat-ul-Ansar. “The Lord of the Heavens and the Earth, the tremendous Reality, He is close and near you. Does this humble you?”

Allah has granted us the gift of being conscious of this reality. This is tremendous, and can only come in the form of a gift because none of us truly deserves it. This gift entails gratitude. Faith is a tremendous gift that has eternal consequences. Even if we chose to believe, who inspired us to it?
Allah tells us in the Quran, “Say: It is all from Allah.” The gift of faith is one we have not earned;  therefore, gratitude is the response.
So what is true gratitude? True shukr or thankfulness is using every blessing given to you in turning to Allah.

Never forget Him.

Gratitude of faith also entails that we nurture this faith. There is a tremendous difference between one that says I believe and the one who is present and conscious of the meaning of faith. Therefore, along with gratitude, knowledge is an essential key to attaining presence with your Lord.
The point of the prayer is the one you are praying to – Allah is the focus – and prayer is the key to being in His presence. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said “My complete joy, the joy of my eyes, was placed in the prayer.”
Why? Because prayer is presence with the one you love, with the one you are seeking…That is why whenever things were going on in the life of the Prophet, he would turn to prayer.
If Allah treated us as we deserved we would be lost, for our heedlessness is vast and our lack of gratitude is apparent. Allah deals with us with Mercy and enriches us when we provide him with as little as 10 minutes of presence and manifests good in it. Along with prayer comes continuous reflection and remembrance of God, in nurturing this our hearts find rest, solace and comfort.
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Truly in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest

The first preoccupation of hearts is to seek answers to two fundamental questions: Who am I? Who is my Lord? In engaging in worship or remembrance, the restlessness leaves our hearts and we reconnect to our spirit. In a time before existence, we confirmed who our Lord is and in remembrance we return to this reality.

Be Busy With Allah.

So when you work, do it for Allah. The true meaning of your work is the potential to be in the presence of Allah and that is the true essence of your living. Those who are accomplished are those whose trade nor other dealings busy them from Allah. What are they busy with? They are busy with Allah. When anyone is with the one they love, does anything actually shake them?

Resources for the Seekers:

Connecting Our Hearts to Allah – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Get some much needed Soul Food , and spiritual nourishment with Ustadh Amjad Tarsin in this richly packed workshop on 10 practical steps to connect your heart to Allah.

Foundationally rooted in the Hadith Jibrli, Ustadh Amjad delineates the 3 dimensions of religion and ushers us into the spiritual path of seeking and connecting with Allah.  To understand how we can connect our hearts to Allah, we must first step back and understand the nature of the heart and how it functions. With this in mind, Ustadh Amjad takes the listeners and viewers on an investigation of the Qalb, the spiritual heart, and the nature of its parts and its much needed nourishments.

Resources for Seekers:

Your Iman is Not Safe In The Hands of Just Your Intellect

Many of us are struggling with the theory and the intellectual level of our understanding of this religion, for one reason or another. Shaykh Hamdi Benaissa argues that we are shortchanging ourselves if we consign the entirety of our faith to our intellect. Inevitably, the intellect cannot give you iman. In fact, the intellect is not a safe place for your iman. With your intellect – specifically the kind of intellect of today, it is not sufficient to expect to be united with the Prophet ﷺ.

Keep the company of the people of dhikr and pray in the deepest part of the night for Allah to show you the truth.

Watch this brief but profound clip below.

Sincere thanks to the Rhoda Institute of Islamic Learning for this recording. Photo credit: Rajarshi Mitra.

Resources for seekers

Iman intellect

Am I On The Right Path? Counsel from Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus gives a profound response to the ultimate question – am I on the right path? Will I be accepted by Allah?

Recorded in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in May 2015.

Do You Want to Learn More?

Consider taking an online course with SeekersHub. It’s free to anyone, anywhere in the world. There are over 30 titles to choose from, including Imam Ghazali’s Foundations of Islamic Belief Explained and Islamic Beliefs for Seekers: Dardir’s Kharidah Explained.

VIDEO: The Sweetness of Faith by Shaykh Ahmed Abdo

Recorded during the month of Shaaban at Daar Ibn Abbas, Sydney, Sh Ahmed Abdo shares with us on the topic, ‘The sweetness of Faith’. Who are the people who has tasted the sweetness of faith? What is the sweetness of faith? What are the ways for us to taste the sweetness of faith? Watch this recording to find out more.

 

10945053_923581144332701_3573783879150450749_nShaykh Ahmed Abdo was born in Sydney, Australia. His pursuit to seek traditional Islamic scholarship has taken him around the world with some of the most esteemed scholars of our time.
In 2000, he embarked on a traditional journey in the Sacred Islamic Sciences through the Rihla program in Andalucia, Spain.

In 2005, Shaykh Ahmed travelled to Tarim to study with Dar al-Mustafa, a centre for traditional Islamic scholarship. It is in this environment that he would develop a richer understanding of the Islamic faith, learning from renowned Islamic scholars such as Habib Umar, Habib Ali al- Jifri, Habib Kadhim, and Shaykh Umar bin Hussain al- Khatib.

Shaykh Ahmed studied the core Islamic sciences, with a particular interest in the area of Islamic Jurisprudence.

He has travelled extensively to as an interpreter accompanying Habib Kadhim and Habib Umar for their lecture tours in South Africa, Canada and Australia.

For the past few years Shaykh Ahmed has been studying under the instruction of Shaykh Umar with a particular focus on Shafi’i Fiqh.

Most recently, (and some may have seen it in the media) Shaykh Ahmed was sworn in as a Police Muslim Chaplain. Where he hopes to meet the spiritual needs of police officers, particularly our Muslim police officers, as and when they may need it.

Will a Believer Who Doesn't Practice Islam Go to Paradise?

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour
Question: If someone who doesn’t pray salah, doesn’t give zakat, doesn’t fast basically he doesn’t do anything Islamic, would that person ever enter paradise?
Answer: Allah forgives all sins except associating partners with Him.
If a person’s final state was that he or she was a believer, it is possible that they are forgiven for all their sins. Allah says, “Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less that that for whom He wills” (Quran 4:48).
Forgiveness is Up to Allah
Thus, regardless of the sins of a person, as long as they were a believer, it is possible that they can be forgiven. This is referred to as a person being in the “mashe’ah”, which means it is up to Allah whether or not to punish them. But, if a person left this life without faith in Allah, then the cannot be forgiven, as the verse mentions.
Deeds Are By Their Final Action
One thing to point out is that a Muslim should never rely solely on the hope that they will leave this life with belief, and thus be forgiven for all their sins. There is no guarantee of that a person who professes the belief in Allah will die with that belief. In a Hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim, and listed by Nawawi in his 40 Hadith collection.
“By the One, other than Whom there is no deity, verily one of you performs the actions of the people of Paradise until there is but an arm’s length between him and it. Then that which is written overtakes him, and so he acts with the actions of the people of the Hellfire and thus enters it.”
Imam Nawawi, in his commentary on his 40 Hadith collection says that this is a proof that we cannot be guaranteed that a specific person will enter Paradise. The only people that we can say that are those who Allah or His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) stated where in Paradise. The same Hadith prevents us from guaranteeing any specific person is going to Hell, unless we have revelation to prove that.
And Allah knows best.