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The Impact of Our Choices – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

Oftentimes we pass the hours away not realizing how many choices we are making. We also don’t realize how many opportunities we are missing out on, says Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said.

Syedina Abu Dharr (radiallah anhu), the great Sahabi of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam), in sharing his wisdom about the choices we make as humans, said:

“Good company is better than being lonely,

And being lonely is better than the corrupted.

The one that spreads khair is better than the one that is quiet,

And the one that is quiet is better than the one devoid of good words. “

The profundity of Abu Dharr’s (radiallah anhu) statement is that it recognizes that we as humans have wants, and as such he is framing those wants as within a set of impactful choices.

Choices that seem as mundane as eating and talking, can at moments be good and at others not be the choicest.

An example of such being when Imam Shafi (rehmatullah alaih) visited Imam Ahmad (rehmatullah alaih), and when the latter’s daughter commented on the amount of food Imam Shafi (rehmatullah alaih) was consuming, he explained that he had done so because of the blessings in the food that was spread before him!

As we tread through the choices that are spread before us, may Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) facilitate the choicest.

Resources for Seekers

 

Etiquette of the Seeker According to the Teachings of Shaykh Salih al-Ja’fari

The engaging and eloquent Shaykh Babikr Ahmed Babikr offers this series on the etiquette of the seeker according to the teachings of Shaykh Salih al-Ja’fari, a renowned Sudanese scholar – a must listen.

Who Was Shaykh Salih al-Ja’fari?

The Etiquette of the Seeker: Sincerity

 

The Etiquette of the Seeker: Truthfulness

The Etiquette of the Seeker: God-wariness

The Etiquette of the Seeker: Obedience

The Etiquette of the Seeker: Reliance on God

Our sincere thanks to The Source, the organisers of the retreat where these lessons were delivered and nuruddinzangi for making them available.

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Should We Do Everything for the Sake of Allah?

Answered by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

Question:Assalamu alaykum,

Some people who want a good job, and a good life for themselves but then feel bad that they aren’t doing it for Allah.

Should we do everything for the sake of Allah?

Answer: Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem.

Ikhlas (roughly translated as sincerity and determination) is the highest level of worship. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said in the Qur’an, speaking about the people of Bani Israel: “And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, in absolute sincerity…” (Surah Al-Bayyinah, 5)

In Surah Az-Zumar (2), Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said: “Indeed, We have sent down to you the Book, [O Muhammad], in truth. So worship Allah, with absolute sincerity…”

In addition, in relation to our state of being, our human fitra (innate nature) and conscience are connected to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).

So what is a good deed or action?

Good deeds and actions are what Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) described in Surah Al-Mulk (2), when He said: “[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving –“ ; good action and deeds are the best of actions and deeds available to us.

However, in doing good deeds or actions, you do not always have to explicitly say you are doing this for the sake of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala), particularly because our conscience is connected to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).

As a corollary, in speaking of increasing the likelihood of the acceptance of actions, the secret of acceptance of every action is when it is done for Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).

To illustrate this further, we know the word Bismillah means ‘in the name of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)’; and in actual terms, for example, if you are writing, your actual intention is to write in the name of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala); if you are eating, your intention is to eat in the name of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala); if you are riding, your intention is to ride in the name of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala); and if you are transacting, your intention is to transact in the name of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). In these examples, even if you do not say the words explicitly, the intention of the actions forms the basis for the goodness of the deed, without having to say ‘in the name of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).’

Generalizing this understanding, the action or deed that is most desired is that of, or which brings about, khair (blessings).

Examples

In the story of the woman who gave the dog water, she showed her care for this animal when it was thirsty, and she did something good not expecting anything in return; this in it of itself is something that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) loves! She is not doing it to show off, to be praised or to gain any benefit in this dunya!

In a Hadith Qudsi, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said whoever does an action, and he or she has thought of someone other than Him in doing such action, the action will be for whom it was intended.

However, what the women did, no one knew about or narrated, and although she did not do it specifically for Allah (subhana wa ta’ala), she did it for the creation of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)!

In offering help, we should never judge whether or not the person deserves that help, as Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam), when a Jewish funeral procession passed, stood up. Upon seeing this, the Sahaba brought it to the attention of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) that the procession was that of a Jewish man, to which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi

wasalam) said: “But is it not a soul?”

In Sahih Muslim, it is narrated that Qays ibn Sa’d (Radiallah anhu), while he was in Qadasiya, saw the funeral procession of a non-Muslim passing by, and he stood up, narrating and emulating the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) when he stood up for the Jewish man.

So when you do a good deed or action, you should not look at whether the person deserves it or not and hence do the action without expecting anything in return. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is Al Karim (the Most Generous), and He rewards you for your actions.

It was narrated that Syedina Uthman ibn Madh’un (radiallah anhu) was passing by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) and was carrying a baby on his shoulder, and Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) asked if the baby was his son, which he affirmed. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) then asked if he loved his son, to which Uthman (radiallah anhu) responded “very much so.” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) then asked if He should tell him something that would increase his love for his son even more, to which Syedina Uthman (radiallah anhu) replied, “Yes! And may my mother and father be ransomed for you!” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) then said “Whoever tries to please a child until the child is pleased with him or her, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) will bestow upon them His Generosity.” (Kanzul Amal)

In this example, the child is being pleased for one’s own benefit, but yet Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) rewards you, because He is Ar-Rahman!

Hence, we do not necessarily have to say we are doing an action for the sake of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala), as long as we are doing good with good intention, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) will reward us.

In a Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) said to have intercourse with one’s wife is sadaqah. So the Sahaba said that we do this for our own desire and we get rewarded for it? Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) replied:

“Do you not see if you were to do the same in an impermissible manner you would be sinful and punished? [The Sahaba responded in the affirmative.] So when someone does it in a permissible manner, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) will reward him.” (Sahih Muslim, 1674)

Our understanding is that whatever you do, if you do good, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is the Most Generous, Al Karim and Al Jawad, and Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) was the most generous as well, as narrated by Abdulllah ibn Abbas (radiallah anhu) when he said that the generosity of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) was like the wind. Hence all that is good will be rewarded.

That being said, we should still maintain a level of introspection whenever we do anything, and we should question ourselves as to whether or not we are doing it for the sake of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).

Ikhlas is the greatest form of ibadah, and Sufyan at-Thauri (rehmatullah alaih) said that whatever he set out to do he has completed except for ikhlas which took him 20 years!

As such, there are attributes of Ar-Rahman that we should strive to emulate, and from among them is forgiveness, being merciful, being kind and generous. In a Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) said that those who are merciful to others, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) will be Merciful with them.

May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) grant us ikhlas in all that we do.

Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

Photo: Nevit Dilmen

Just Be Muslim, Not A Brand Manager for Islam

We don’t need more brand managers for Islam, says Shaykh Walead Mosaad. Living as good Muslims with sincere concern for others is the best means of calling to Islam, and as Shaykh Walead demonstrates, there are countless everyday scenarios when we can put these words into action.

Resources on How Not To Be A Brand Manager For Islam


Cover photo by Bengin Ahmad.

Will My Intention to Spend My Future Earnings in a Praiseworthy Manner Be Rewarded?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am currently studying to get a job in the future, inshaAllah. Once employed, if I intend to spend my money in the way of Allah, will I be rewarded for both my studies and work?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for your sincere question and grant you tawfiq in your studies and career.

Intention

It is taken from the well-known hadith in which the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Verily actions are by their intentions, and one shall only have that which one intended.” [Bukhari & Muslim] The scholars stated that there is something implicit in this hadith, namely: “Verily actions are [rewarded] by their intentions, and one shall only have [the reward] for that which one intended.” – Excerpt from Actions Are Rewarded Due To Intentions by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Yes, inshaAllah you will be rewarded for studying and by working. Please continue to renew your intention regularly in order for you to gain reward.

Please refer to the following link:

A Reader on Sincerity, Intention, and the Purpose of Spiritual Routines

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Is It Impermissible (Haram) to Worry About What Others Think?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Is it haram to worry about what others think of you? I really struggle when trying not to worry about what others will think. I took off my hijab before because I thought that I was not being sincere, because of my fear of what others think.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. Dear sister, Allah tests those whom He loves. May He lift your worries from your heart, and replace it with tranquility. Please do not be ashamed – you ask a very important question.

What others think

It is part of human nature to be concerned what others think of you. However, it would be problematic if you cared too little, or too much. As always, the key lies in balance. If you are excessively preoccupied with these thoughts, then you could be affected by waswasa, and/or anxiety, and as a result, prone towards despair.

There is wisdom in being concerned about what others think. If fearing what others think prevents you from sin and encourages you to good, then this is still positive. We are social creatures, and Allah commands and rewards the keeping of ties. However, it would be ideal if every single act you did was purely for Allah’s sake, but think of it as a process.

On the flipside, it would be sinful to commit haram acts out of fear of what others think (e.g. participating in gossip because everyone else is too, removing hijab out fear or what others will think etc).

Sincerity

“Place your reliance in the Living God, the Undying” [Qur’an, 25:58]

“Whoever places his reliance on Allah then He is his sufficiency” [Qur’an, 65:3]

Ibn Ata’illah (may Allah be well-pleased with him) said, “One of the signs of relying on one’s deeds is loss of hope when a misstep occurs” [Hikam].

Attaining sincerity with Allah is a journey. Unless Allah wills, attaining absolute sincerity for Allah’s sake alone is a process, and not an overnight event. Be gentle on yourself and accept that you are in a work in progress. Ask Allah to help you purify your intention so that His Pleasure alone is what you seek. Don’t stop acts of worship because you are worried what others will think, or because you fear you are not being sincere. This is a trap Shaytan lays out for believers. He tricks us into despair, so we give up from the very outset. Despair is not the way of the believers, because we place our hope in Allah Most High, and not in the limitations of our own selves. Again, this takes practice, and constant dua.

Solutions

1) Please perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to grant you relief and clarity.

2) Wake up in the blessed time before Fajr and ask Allah for ease. Use this solitude to reflect on what you have done well, and what you have done poorly. Make shukr for what you did well, and ask Allah to forgive you for your mistakes. Treat each day as a new beginning.

3) Before you perform an act of worship, make clear intention for Allah, and ask Him to accept your good deed. Ignore any other negative thoughts that come to your mind. This will get easier with practice. Focus more on Allah, and less on your own worries. Anything is possible through Allah.

4) Enrol in Essentials of Spirituality: Ghazali’s Beginning of Guidance to help you organise your day and your time, helping you dispel waswasa, inshaAllah.

5) Make regular istighfar every morning and evening.

6) When you start to feel the beginnings of doubt or despair, immediately seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan. Reassure yourself with the knowledge that Allah knows your innermost hopes and fears.

7) Please see a therapist, counsellor or psychologist to help you manage the worries that are consuming your mind.

8) While you are looking for a therapist, visit www.hypnosisdownload.com and consider downloading a few relevant tracks to help you manage your fears.

9) Exercise daily, get enough sunshine, eat nourishing food, and get enough sleep.

10) Keep the company of righteous and kind Muslims who will encourage you to good, and who help you have a good opinion of Allah.

Please refer to these links:

A Reader On Waswasa

A Reader on Sincerity, Intention, and the Purpose of Spiritual Routines

Should I Remove the Hijab Because I Am a Bad Example for Others?
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The Fully Integrated Life – Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad

“Allah bears witness that there is no god except He, and the Angels and the ones endowed with knowledge, upright with equity (bear witness). There is no god except He, The Ever-Mighty, The Ever-Wise…” (Surah al-Imran, Verse 18)

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad talks about how one should approach the balance needed in life, to put everything where it deserves to be put. How should one manage the different influences and complexity of life as a student? How does one find the right balance between what may seem deen and what may seem Dunya? The shaykh explains how we must strive for the fully integrated life and shares some useful tips from the works of Hujjat ul-Islam Imam Al-Ghazali.

Our deepest gratitude to Cambridge Khutbahs for making this recording available.

On Sincerity and Avoiding Excessiveness

Attaining true sincerity in worship and maintaining it through following the Prophetic balance – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains how, as he draws from two counsels from one of the great works of the Ba’Alawi tradition titled “Idah Asrar ‘Uloom al-Muqarrabin” (A Clarification of the Subtle Knowledges of Those Drawn Close to Allah) by Shaykh Jamaluddin ibn Abdullah ibn Shaykh al-Aydarus.

The first counsel on striving for sincerity is from page 52 of the book:

An action that is pure in every consideration is exceedingly rare and hard to find because most righteous actions are not bereft of capricious impulse, even if it be a little. But a person may not realize those imperfections because how subtle they are. And it is this completely pure action in every way that reaches The Lord Most High quickly and it is the action that rips away the veils between one and his Lord, because that completely pure action is the most noble of actions and the very spirit of actions. And the action that is completely pure is that which was preformed with a degree of spiritual striving (mujahada) and exertion, and one’s ego has no attachment to it in any way. Such an action is the reliance of the knowers of Allah and what they consider, so understand well.

The second counsel on maintaining the Prophetic balance in actions of worship from page 66 of the book:

It is upon you dear brother to do the good, and seek with all your actions the Countenance of Allah Most High. And beware of extremes and excessiveness in your actions, because righteous acts if they are preformed with balance then they fall in their rightful places (and have their rightful impact). But if one becomes excessive in them, then whims become attached to them and then they become of the category of the actions of the self. Do you not see the words of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him in the rigorously authenticated narration (hadith):

“… Rather I pray and not stand in prayer, I fast some days and not fast others, I have relations with women, so whoever turns away from my sunnah is not of me.”

So some knowers of Allah said that Allah has not commanded His servants with any command except that Iblis follows up on it by either by calling the servant to overdo the action or become lax therein. This should teach you oh spiritual wayfarer how to have balance in all your affairs and to not go into excesses in your actions, because actions (good deeds) can ruin a person without them even realizing it because of their caprice taking over them.

The basis of this is the ego has a type of attachment to good deeds, except that these attachments have no basis and no reality (it is delusion). What could be manifest of one in their dealings is softness and gentleness, but their heart could be hard and their gentleness and softness is out of their ego, and this happens a lot.

Likewise crying for example could overcome people who are hard hearted, their selves are week and their hearts are hard, and none of that matters, because the reliance is on that which comes forth from the hearts, not from that which is manifested by selves. Likewise with all character traits and conducts that are related to the self, none of it is celebrated because it has no basis even if it from that which impresses people.

So if you wish to distinguish between that which comes forth from the hearts and that which comes forth from the self, then go from effects to causes. So for example if you see someone who is soft and crying then look at their temperament, does it fit their temperament? So if their temperament befits softness and crying then this from the heart. But if their temperament is difficult and harsh not suited to crying and softness, then know that it is from the self and not from the heart. So apply the same thing to yourself.

All SeekersHub programming is free so consider joining us online or at the Toronto Hub where Shaykh Faraz teaches regularly from. Your financial support is crucial to our #SpreadLight campaign, which seeks to provide truly excellent Islamic learning to at least 1,000,000 seekers of knowledge in the coming year! This will serve as an ongoing charity (sadaqa jariyah) so please donate today.

On Sincerity and Avoiding Excessiveness – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


prayerAttaining true sincerity in worship and maintaining it through following the Prophetic balance – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains how, as he draws from two counsels from one of the great works of the Ba’Alawi tradition titled “Idah Asrar ‘Uloom al-Muqarrabin” (A Clarification of the Subtle Knowledges of Those Drawn Close to Allah) by Shaykh Jamaluddin ibn Abdullah ibn Shaykh al-Aydarus.

The first counsel on striving for sincerity is from page 52 of the book:

An action that is pure in every consideration is exceedingly rare and hard to find because most righteous actions are not bereft of capricious impulse, even if it be a little. But a person may not realize those imperfections because how subtle they are. And it is this completely pure action in every way that reaches The Lord Most High quickly and it is the action that rips away the veils between one and his Lord, because that completely pure action is the most noble of actions and the very spirit of actions. And the action that is completely pure is that which was preformed with a degree of spiritual striving (mujahada) and exertion, and one’s ego has no attachment to it in any way. Such an action is the reliance of the knowers of Allah and what they consider, so understand well.

The second counsel on maintaining the Prophetic balance in actions of worship from page 66 of the book:

It is upon you dear brother to do the good, and seek with all your actions the Countenance of Allah Most High. And beware of extremes and excessiveness in your actions, because righteous acts if they are preformed with balance then they fall in their rightful places (and have their rightful impact). But if one becomes excessive in them, then whims become attached to them and then they become of the category of the actions of the self. Do you not see the words of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him in the rigorously authenticated narration (hadith):

“… Rather I pray and not stand in prayer, I fast some days and not fast others, I have relations with women, so whoever turns away from my sunnah is not of me.”

So some knowers of Allah said that Allah has not commanded His servants with any command except that Iblis follows up on it by either by calling the servant to overdo the action or become lax therein. This should teach you oh spiritual wayfarer how to have balance in all your affairs and to not go into excesses in your actions, because actions (good deeds) can ruin a person without them even realizing it because of their caprice taking over them.

The basis of this is the ego has a type of attachment to good deeds, except that these attachments have no basis and no reality (it is delusion). What could be manifest of one in their dealings is softness and gentleness, but their heart could be hard and their gentleness and softness is out of their ego, and this happens a lot.

Likewise crying for example could overcome people who are hard hearted, their selves are week and their hearts are hard, and none of that matters, because the reliance is on that which comes forth from the hearts, not from that which is manifested by selves. Likewise with all character traits and conducts that are related to the self, none of it is celebrated because it has no basis even if it from that which impresses people.

So if you wish to distinguish between that which comes forth from the hearts and that which comes forth from the self, then go from effects to causes. So for example if you see someone who is soft and crying then look at their temperament, does it fit their temperament? So if their temperament befits softness and crying then this from the heart. But if their temperament is difficult and harsh not suited to crying and softness, then know that it is from the self and not from the heart. So apply the same thing to yourself.

All SeekersHub programming is free so consider joining us online or at the Toronto Hub where Shaykh Faraz teaches regularly from. Your financial support is crucial to our #SpreadLight campaign, which seeks to provide truly excellent Islamic learning to at least 1,000,000 seekers of knowledge in the coming year! This will serve as an ongoing charity (sadaqa jariyah) so please donate today.

Resources for Seekers:

Seeking Sincerity: How Can One Strive To Have One’s Actions accepted by Allah?
How Can I Deal With Doubts About the Sincerity of My Prayers?
How To Attain Sincerity: Keys, Signs, and Advice
A Reader on Sincerity, Intention, and the Purpose of Spiritual Routines
How Can I Increase My Iman and My Sincerity?
The Need for Sincerity, and the Dangers of Seeking Prestige and the Praise of Others
Intention: Validity And Sincerity
Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad on Hypocrisy and Sincerity
What Is the Meaning of the Hadith “Ruined Are the Extremists”?

You’re Wildly Successful, but Do Your Friends Trust You?

Photo credit: Sergey Nivens You might have written bestsellers, but do your friends trust you?

You might have a PhD but do your children hate you?

You might have millions of fans but are you incapable of having a loving relationship?

You might earn a ton of money, but is it all sitting in high-interest accounts or shares in unethical mining or arms companies, while the people around you are eating tinned dog food?

You might have earned the praise and admiration of your peers, but does the old lady at the Post Office secretly call you ‘that pompous, rude git who swans about like he owns the place and couldn’t tell a joke if it bit him in the arse’?

Achievement has about as much to do with what looks good on paper as beauty has to do with plastic surgery. What have Muslims contributed in the last 500 years or so? Many millions of tiny acts of kindness that no newspaper would bother printing and no organisation would bother stumping up the cash for an awards ceremony to celebrate.

Dealing with your own self is a far more difficult task than going to university, getting a job, and rising up the career ladder, gathering accolades on the way. You can employ all sorts of underhanded methods in the latter, but in the former, only ruthless self-accounting and discipline will work – and that doesn’t get you any certificate.

Humility, disinterested acts of kindness, generosity, service to others, being the kind of everyday hero that doesn’t demand a medal – these acts are elevated in Islam to the rank of achievement, far more than winning a battle or having your critics pat you on the back for that paper you just published.

The higher you climb in this world, the further you have to fall. In contrast, practising non-attachment to the world whilst caring for it is surely the greatest challenge humanity faces.

By Medina Tenour Whiteman, Cavemum

 

Resources for Seekers:

VIDEO: The etiquette of battling the self and ego
Imam Nawawi On Fighting The Ego (Nafs)
The War Within Our Hearts
The Need for Sincerity, and the Dangers of Seeking Prestige and the Praise of Others