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Am I to Blame for My Chronic Illness?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: I was diagnosed with a chronic illness in my teenage years.

1.People tell me I am to blame for my illness. Are they right?

2.It is very difficult for me to lift my feet up to the sink to wash for ablution. How can I make ablution?

3.Does crying invalidate prayer?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

1. This life is a test, and each person is afflicted with something different, yet not with that which they cannot bear. Allah Most High says, “Allah does not burden souls with more than they can manage.” [2:286] Remember, the blamers have their own issues to deal with, so take their criticism with a pinch of salt, and work on your relationship with Allah Most High. It helps to find some good company, and to also attend some gatherings of knowledge, wisdom and remembrance.

2. Consider using a bucket and simply placing your foot, up to the ankle, into it every time you need to perform the ablution (wudu). You can also consider wearing footgear (khuffs) so you only need to wash in this manner once daily.

3. No, crying is not disliked in and of itself. But crying for a worldly matter during the prayer is problematic, so you should avoid it.

Please also see: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and: Things Inconsistent With Accepting Fate- Imam Ghazali and: How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam.

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.

How To Be Free of All But Allah

There are those who choose Allah over all else, and then there are the chosen ones who Allah chooses above all others as an acceptance of their devotion to Him. In under 16 minutes, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gives us clear guidance on how we can too, become free of all intention to please anything or anyone but the One who created us.
This recording is part of the weekly gathering at SeekersHub Toronto, Circle of Light: A Night of Remembrance, Praise & Inspiration. Join us in-person and online. 

There’s more where that came from…

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a gifted teacher – to learn more from him or on this subject, take a course in the SeekersHub online academy. There are over 30 topics to choose from and all you need is an internet connection.
Can’t commit to a course right now but want to earn the rewards of helping others gain sacred knowledge? Become a regular donor today.

Resources on latent shirk for seekers

Cover photo by Fadi El Binni

Afraid to get groceries? Ustadha Anse Tamara Gray on being a Muslim woman in today’s turbulent climate

Each time a high profile act of violence is committed by a Muslim or in the name of Islam, the fear of reprisal attacks rises acutely in Muslim communities. It has become almost par for the course, and the statistics prove the threat is real. Often, women who are visibly Muslim find themselves the primary soft target. Ustadha Anse Tamara Gray has been inundated with concerned messages from many who are directly and indirectly affected. From being afraid to leave the home to do basic, every day errands to fearing for their lives – this has become the sad reality for many. Ustadha Anse has some much needed advice.

Resources for seekers:

Finding Safety and Solace in the Sunnah

In the name of Allah the Most Merciful, The Most Compassionate. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Sayyiduna Muhammad and His Folk and Companions.


In any matter that faces the believers, individually and communally, they would not find a better recourse than to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). 

Times of trial are reminders to hold fast to Allah and to find safety and solace in following the way of our beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him).  

It is related that when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) would exit his house he would say:

Finding-Solace-Iman-Badawi3

In the name of Allah, I trust in Allah; there is no might or power but in Allah. O Allah! I seek refuge in You lest I stray or be led astray, or slip or be made to slip, or cause injustice, or suffer injustice, or do wrong, or have wrong done to me.”

This supplication, as it appears here, is a combination of reports from the Sunnan of Abi Dawud, on the authority of Sayyida Umm Salama and Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be well-pleased with them all).  Imam an-Nawwawi, in his Adhkar, collected similar narrations from at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasaa`i, and Ibn Maajah.  

Ibn Allan, in his commentary on the Adhkar, entitled al-Futoohat ar-Rabbaniyya, explains that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught this supplication to his ummah to teach them how to seek refuge from all harm in their dealings with people, both outwardly and inwardly. This can only come about through humbly turning to Allah, Most High, and asking for steadfastness upon the straight path.

He quotes at-Teebi as saying, “One who exits from his home will engage with people, and so it is feared that he would swerve from the upright way; either 

  1. in matters of religion, by leading others astray or being led astray; or 
  1. in worldly matters, such that one might oppress another or be oppressed; or 
  1. in one’s mixing with others, such that one would act imprudently or be treated as such.”

Ibn Allan explains that each one of these is a foundation in itself, not redundant.

 


TRUST IN ALLAH

Dua-RainNewImage.png“In the name of Allah, I trust in Allah; there is no might and no power but in Allah.”

Through reliance upon Allah, the believer seeks to rise above every difficulty. This is sought by invoking the name of Allah with the intention of seeking His Assistance, Gentle Care, and Facilitation and that His Power protects one’s acts from deficiency and inconsistency.

Muslims often become exasperated by the default state of suspicion placed upon them in the wake of terrorist attacks.  While we must take every means to enjoin good and forbid evil and avert all forms of harm, it is not by our efforts that the truth prevails.  Rather, above all of that is the duty to trust in Allah.

 

MISGUIDANCE

“O Allah! I seek refuge in You lest I stray or be led astray, or slip or be made to slip

Guidance is to uphold the truth in belief and word and deed. Straying from guidance (dalaal) entails being distracted away from the high aims for which we were created.

Worldly events often cause a shift in this focus and lead to negligence in upholding Slavehood to Allah.  

The verb “zalla” means to slip from an elevated place. In this context it means falling from the lofty heights of adherence to the Straight Path to the low strata of following one’s caprice (hawa), or turning away from the dictates of God-consciousness (taqwa), or being consumed by the pursuit of worldly gains (dunya).  Misguidance is a willful turning from the truth, while slipping is an unintentional mistake resulting from weakness.  

Even as Muslims feel threatened or unsafe, we must not lose our resolve to adhere to the obedience of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) in all circumstances. This is the means to overcoming difficulty and the manifestation of true reliance upon Allah.

Thus, it has been reported on the authority of Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (may Allah be well-pleased with him) that Allah immediately answers and an angel declares, “You have been guided.” [Sunan Ibn Maajah, Book of Supplications]

 

OPPRESSION

“I seek refuge in You lest I….cause injustice, or suffer injustice”

Dhulm means to place something in other than it’s rightful place or to take the right of another.  

There can be no greater oppression than to take the words of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) out of their proper place to achieve the exact opposite of their aims. However, a believer is responsible for his or her own actions.  Thus, one will not be asked about the oppression of others before he is first asked about his own.

One who has been protected by Allah from oppression will have what our Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) promised, as the hadith continues to say:

“You have been sufficed.”, meaning, of every worldly and next-worldly concern by your reliance upon Allah. 

 

IGNORANCE

“I seek refuge in You lest I…. do wrong, or have wrong done to me.”

This entails being ignorant of what is obligatory upon one or to act in a way that is contrary to the character of a believer or to be treated with like imprudence.

Incidents that provoke anger, fear and hatred are easily reciprocated with their like.  In that is a victory for the true enemy.  

Thus the angel responds, “You have been guarded.”, meaning from the harm of your enemies, of devils and jinn, by your sincere consigning of all affairs to the Creator.

 

Concern For Others & Praying for the Good for all Believers

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was granted the most succinctly eloquent and vastly comprehensive speech.  In this short supplication, he teaches us to seek protection, both from these harms and from being the cause of leading others to them.  There is no harm to recite it in English for one who finds difficulty memorizing it in Arabic.

In the narration of at-Tirmidhi, the same supplication has been narrated in the plural, intending all the believers.  This is a general recommendation, as it is from wishing for one’s brother what one wishes for one’s self. [Sunan at Tirmidhi, Book of Supplications, on the authority of Sayyida Umm Salama from ash-Sha’bi]

 

Planting Prophetic Meanings

Most of the Sunnah is habitual guidance; a consistent way of approaching our dealings with our Creator and our dealings with the creation.  Good habits are best established early. Through teaching this supplication to our children, explaining its meanings and reciting it with them consistently, every time we leave our homes, we pray that it’s beautiful meanings are imparted to them.  

 

Modern Interactions

The reality of our modern world is that we now engage with people, to a great extent, through social media.  Thus, the harms from which we seek protection through this supplication are no longer limited to leaving one’s home.   As the aim of du’a` is sincere turning to Allah in neediness, it would be a good practice to recite this supplication or, at least, bring its meanings to mind in all human interactions.  

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

Allah, Most High, says:

O you who have believed, upon you is [responsibility for] yourselves. Those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided. To Allah is your return all together; then He will inform you of what you used to do. [Quran 5:105]

By Iman Badawi

 

Resources for seekers:

Can I Make Dua In My Own Language and Not In Arabic?

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani was asked if we may supplicate to Allah in a language other than Arabic, particularly as many are not fluent in the Arabic language.

His answer may surprise you – he says not only may we make dua in any language we are comfortable with, in fact, we should.

How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment? [Follow-Up Questions]

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalamu alaykum,
I have follow-up questions regarding this answer: How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment?
1) Can you further distinguish between expiation of sins vs raising of ranks?
2) Specifically, how is calmness distinct from mere patience?
3) How is contentment distinct from merely avoiding complaining?
4) What is obedience of heart? (versus mere obedience of body)?
5) If we find ourselves in the first category or second (i.e. that of sins or expiation of sins), can we “raise” the purpose/goal of the trial through intentionally altering the “symptoms” i.e. complaining less, so that it becomes an expiation of sin rather than a punishment?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
(1) Expiation of sins is for them to be covered over, which is distinct from being raised in degrees.
(2) Patience is remaining firm upon that which will be pleasing to Allah. Calmness is serenity after uneasiness and worry. [see: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah]
(3) Contentment is the heart’s joy at the unfolding of destiny. [see: Contentment: the Property of the Believers – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus – Video and: Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life] Complaint is objecting to Allah. [see: Things Inconsistent With Accepting Fate – Imam Ghazali]
(4) Obedience of the heart can include actions which pertain to the heart such as sincerity, trueness, and good opinion, as opposed to obedience of the body, such as prayer and fasting.
(5) Yes, and this realization is a gift from Allah.
See also: Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Abuse and Breaking the Ties of Kinship

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: As-salamu alaykum,
Fisrt: Can you please tell me the Islamic ruling for a person who wants to distance themselves from a family who repeatedly subject them to various kinds of abuse such as emotional, discrimination, neglect almost on an everyday basis over many years, with no signs of stopping?
Second: is it permissible for this person to talk about their situation to other people in order to get help, without the fear of punishment from Allah, especially when it comes to parents due to their high status?
Third: is it better for this person to remain patient with the calamity Allah has decreed and only seek help from Allah alone through prayer, supplication etc. or should they also seek help from the people; who would qualify as the right people to contact?
Fourth: if this person forgives the family, even if they do not ask for forgiveness, what will be their state in the eyes of Allah in this life and the life to come? Also what will be the state of the person being abused in the eyes of Allah in this life and the life to come?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
(1) Harm is to be avoided. You should get in touch with somebody who can assist directly in your situation.
(2) Yes, it is permissible. However, do so in a manner that is not simply venting. See: When is Backbiting Permissible?
(3) No, we are called upon to take the means. Nobody said to sit still and suffer. Seek out somebody who can help. As for whom, it depends on the situation. Consider getting in touch with a local, reliable scholar.
(4) Forgiving those who have wronged one is from the high, noble sunna. Allah knows well the difficulties people face. Stay strong, ask Allah to lift the trial, pray the Prayer of Need [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?], seek out some righteous company, and keep asking Allah for help.
And see: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and: How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment?
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Is Allah Punishing me for my Past Sins through the Trials in my Life?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Salam  Alaykum
I have just become infertile and I want to know if I caused it by sinning in my past or if it was always destined to happen? I am afraid of losing everything else. I always thought everything that occurs was pre ordained now I’m afraid it was my fault.
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
No, trials aren’t necessarily the result of sins. [see: How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment?]
Have a good opinion of Allah, remove the unlawful from your life, repent from all sin, get up before Fajr and pray, asking Allah to give you contentment (rida) and make the trial easy to bear, and work on your state with Allah, striving for an increase in gratitude and patience.
Please also see: Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a and: Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life and: Can Supplication Change Destiny? and: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

How to Advise Young Muslims Who Are Living Unislamically

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I recently got acquainted with Muslim college freshman. My friend knows him well. In my conversations with my friend and with this college freshman, I gathered that he is quite removed from Islam. He and those around him commit many major sins. My friend said the last time he tried talking to him about these issues, they had a huge fight, so he is hesitant to bring it up now.
I knew of a good Islamic lecture that I thought would be good for him.  I offered to give him a ride, but when my friend and I reached his apartment to pick him up, he was drunk and smoking, with loud music playing, and he had a girl with him.  
How can one deal with such youth? I am really looking forward to some advice. I make du’a that he is guided to the straight path.
I am quite worried because this could perhaps be just one such case that I am aware of among countless high school and college going Muslims. Equally worrying is the fact that if I get married and have kids, I may be tested by Allah with something like this because of my inaction.
Please, give me some advice and pray for us.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
The best thing that you can do for them is to pray for them.
Your worry and concern for them is enough of a proof in your favor. Yet the truth of such concern would be manifest in assisting them when you are reasonably able to do so.
Use tact, wisdom, and mercy to bring them closer to religion. Sounding preachy may put them off, particularly if they are seemingly “distant.” And let them be. People need time to change. In reality, it is Allah who will change their hearts, not you or I. Consult local reliable scholars of knowledge and wisdom about the specifics of what you can do to assist them. But with that, be careful not to project your personal religious positions or understanding and culture onto them. This religion is vast, despite what some may have us believe.
Knowledge is key, as is righteous company.
Allah Most High says, “And whoever places their trust in Allah, then Allah is their sufficiency.” [65.3]
Please see: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Reference for Hadith on Patience with Others

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Can you please tell me if this is an authentic hadith and what is the reference? Hadith: “The believer who consorts with people and endures their harm is better than a believer who does not consort with people nor does he endure their harm.”

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.

“The believer who keeps the company of people and is steadfastly patient over their harm is better than the believer who does not keep the company of people nor is he steadfastly patient over their harm.” In some variants, “is better” is replaced by “is greater in reward”.

The narration (hadith) has been reported in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, Tirmidhi’s Jami`, and the Sunan of Ibn Majah. Shaykh Shu`ayb Arna`ut has noted that its chain of transmission is authentic (sahih).

The believer who keeps the company of people commands the good (with its requisite conditions; for details see: The Criteria of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil), forbids the evil, and displays excellent character in dealing with them.

There should be some form of benefit in keeping company with them. With the righteous and with a religious reason, it would be considered worship. Though, one should be wary of those keeping the company of others for the sake of keeping their company, busying themselves from Allah.

Of the greatest forms of patience is patience in dealing with other people and the harm which comes about from them. Realize that Allah did not send them upon you except for some sin that you committed, so seek His forgiveness; and realize that this is a punishment from Him. [Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir]

Allah Most High says, “And We have appointed some of you a test for others: Will ye be steadfast?” [Qur’an, 25:20] Here, Allah is telling us to be patient. It is a command, “Be patient!”, and not just a question. May Allah make us all of the foremost of the righteous.

See also: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani