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Photoessay: Distance and Closeness in Madina – almiskeenah

Photoessay: Distance and Closeness in Madina – almiskeenah

Understanding closeness to Allah through reflecting on distance and photography of urban architecture of Madina.

…while wandering the Madanian streets, a stream of swirling thoughts tend to take over…what struck me here was ‘distance’…the physical distance between this street scene and Masjid Nabawi, tucked in behind the newer buildings…the technological distance spanning the engineering and construction of these contrasting buildings…and what of the distance these satellite dishes span, bringing the entire world in front of one’s eyes, whilst simultaneously having the potential of totally distancing one from reality…as well as divorcing one from He Who promises to run to us if we walk to Him…Whose Presence can be felt without any external dish by fine tuning our heart to shorten the distance, bringing Him into pristine focus…Ya Rabb, Ya Lateef, Ya Wadud!!

Read more…

Justice as Sadaqa (Charity) – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad via Allahcentric

Justice as Sadaqa (Charity) – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad « Allahcentric

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These are meditations by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad on some hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) related to justice. The balance of Mercy and Justice; the true understanding of justice and its relationship with complete balance; how political justice is (and isn’t) sought; political quietism in the face of misconduct by rulers; classical sects that promoted militancy, and their modern inheritors; the tension between justice and forgiveness; the redress of wrongs; and the need for jurists (and those seeking to promote justice) to be grounded in spirituality.

 

The full text may be found at Sidi Mas’ud Khan’s Site (www.Masud.co.uk):  Justice as Sadaqa (pdf)

 

An extract:

 

(2) There is an act of charity [sadaqa] to be given for each part of the human body and for every day over which the sun rises there is a reward of a |adaqa for theone who establishes justice among people.

Justice (‘adl) is due balance (i‘tidal): it is impartiality. The same word is employed to describe the balance of the body’s four humours. When these are in balance, right thinking and health are the consequence. When they are not, the Qur’an speaks of the last day when ‘their tongues, their hands and their feet will bear witness to what they used to do.’ (24:24)

To purify the body from the disorders which both engender and result from sin, a system of worship is gifted in revelation, which culminates in the placing of the forehead, the symbol of human pride and of self-oriented thought, upon the earth. The tongue ‘gives charity’ by praising God, and by speaking words of reconciliation. The hands do so by working to earn a lawful income, and by striving to right wrong sin society.

Taken together, the purifying ‘charity’ offered by the parts of the believer’s body always has a social impact, the highest aspect of which must be to ‘establish justice’, not only by avoiding unbalanced temptations, but by working to establish a political order in which justice is safeguarded.

Political work is thus conceived as a sacrifice. Never is political authority ‘sought’, in the conventional profane understanding, for a hadith says: ‘Do not seek political power, for if you obtain it by seeking it, it will be given power over you.’ This refers to a selfish, egotistic pursuit (hirs) of power, rather than to the selfless seeking of power for the sake of the establishment of justice for others. The model is the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) who endangers himself in order to establish God’s justice in a feuding Arabia, and who ends his life in holy poverty, despite the advantages he could have gained from having been born into the aristocracy.

And:

 

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Towards the close of the classical Friday sermon, the preacher recites the Qur’¥nic passage which runs: ‘God enjoins justice and goodness.’ (16:90) The first is clearly not sufficient; or the second would not have been mentioned. Islam’s is a god of justice, but also of mercy. The extent to which the latter virtue can override the former in political life can only be defined in a very limited way in books of law. In Islamic legal culture, which grants the judge more discretion than the heavily statutory jurisdictions of the West, the judge has much room for mercy. In the Religion of Wisdom and Compassion, which deeply trusts human beings, it is no surprise that he should have been given this privilege. But his responsibility is grave, and if he is to escape GodÆs own Rigour, he must first defeat his ego. Sufism, the schoolroom of the selfless virtues, thus becomes the most fundamental juristic science.

 

 

Sidi Mas’ud Khan’s Site (www.Masud.co.uk):  Justice as Sadaqa (pdf)

 

Many thanks to Sidi Khuram Zaman, for bringing our attention to this, by posting it on his excellent Allahcentric blog, here.

The Many Blessings of the Ten Days of Dhul Hijja – Nur Sacred Sciences

The Many Blessings of the Ten Days of Dhul Hijja – Nur Sacred Sciences

Once more a period of divine blessing has dawned upon us, bringing with it its zephyrs of divine mercy and opportunity.  For truly, it is not that one sacred season of devotion ends, except that another opportunity for attaining God’s forgiveness, bounty, and self-purification begins.  In these cycles of sacred times, we find the heavenly gift of a renewed chance to replenish our souls and seek God’s reward and proximity.

Among the reports transmitted regarding the sanctity of the first ten days of Dhul Ḥijja, the following has been related on the authority of Ibn ʿAbbas that the Prophet (PBUH) said:  “There are no days in which [good] actions are superior than in these days.” It was asked, “Not even fighting for the sake of God?”  He replied, “Not even fighting for the sake of God, except that a person sets out with his life and his wealth and returns with neither.”

On the authority of Abū Hurayra, the Messenger of God (PBUH) said: “There are no days more beloved to God that He be worshipped in them than the ten days of Dhul Ḥijja.  Each day of fasting in it is equivalent to the fast of an entire year.  And each night standing in prayer is equivalent to standing in prayer on the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr).

Read Full Article Here…

Related posts

Dhul-Qa’da Reflections: Preparing for the Blessed Month of Dhul-Hijja  – Interpreter’s Path

SeekersGuidance – The Ten Days of Dhu’l Hijja: Merits & Striving in Spiritual Works – Answers

SeekersGuidance – The Ten Days of Dhu’l Hijja: Merits & Striving in Spiritual Works – Answers

SeekersGuidance – The Ten Days of Dhu’l Hijja: Merits & Striving in Spiritual Works – Answers

The first ten days of Dhu’l Hijjah are blessed days: Allah Most High Himself swore by them in the Qur’an:

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“By the Dawn, and the Ten Nights…” [Qur’an, Surat al-Fajr, 89.1-2]

The Qur’anic commentators generally agree that the ten nights mentioned above refers to “the first ten days of Dhu’l Hijjah,” as one may find in Shaykh al-Islam Abu Su`ud’s Irshad al-`Aql al-Salim ila Mazaya al-Qur’an al-Karim [famous as Tafsir Abi al-Su`ud, 9.153] or in Tafsir al-Jalalayn.

Imam Ahmad and Nasa’i report from Sayyida Hafsa (Allah be pleased with her) that, “The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) did not leave four matters: Fasting `Ashura (f: 10th of Muharram), [during] the ten days [of Dhu’l Hijja], and three days of each month.”

This answer from the SeekersGuidance Answers service explains some of the key sunnas of these blessed days:

Are you lonesome tonight? – Novid Shaid

Are you lonesome tonight?
by Novid Shaid, 2003

Are you lonesome tonight?
Are you friendless tonight?
Is your world fractured apart?
Has your love turned and fled?
Has your loyal heart bled?
It’s not worth living, apart.

Shall I show you a friend?
Recommend you a friend?
Your woes, His love will consume
And His veil He will rend,
And His charms have no end,
His warmth will comfort your gloom.

Are you troubled tonight?
Agitated tonight?
Have dreams been shattered and strewn?
Has your health turned to dread?
Is your wealth torn into shreds?
And you sense your impending doom.

Will you welcome a friend?
Acquiesce to a friend?
Who’ll mend and replace your dreams,
And He’ll freshen your health,
And enliven your wealth,
His aid will thrill your esteem.

Are you shaking tonight?
Are you aching tonight?
Without a morsel or bed?
And the cold grips your skin,
And the hunger within,
No luck or hope lies ahead.

Can you search for a friend?
Can you feel for a friend?
Who dwells in no time or place,
And His nearness will sate,
And His grace compensate,
Your fare, beholding His face.

Well then, long with your heart,
And kindle in your heart,
The wish to witness His face,
And pledge to Him your love,
Then purge for Him your love,
Your cravings don’t leave a trace.

And convey peace tonight,
And then blessings tonight
Upon His dearest comrade,
And upon his close friends,
Family, companions,
Until there’s no night or day.

A Reminder for Teachers: The Need for Sincerity, and the Dangers of Seeking Prestige and the Praise of Others – Imam Dhahabi

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful

Imam Shams al-Din al-Dhahabi writes,

“It is incumbent upon the scholar to speak with intention and high purpose. If they become impressed by their own speech, they should become silent; and if impressed by their own silence, they should speak. And they should never tire of taking themselves to account, for the ego loves prestige and praise.” [Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, 4.494]

al-Rabi` ibn Khuthaym (Allah have mercy upon him) said, “Everything that wasn’t done for the sake of Allah Himself amounts to nothing.” [ibid., 4.260]

Sa`id ibn al-Hadad (Allah have mercy upon him) said, “Nothing diverts from Allah as much as seeking praise and seeking prestige.” [ibid., 14.214]

Shatibi (Allah have mercy upon him) said about his great work in the science of Qur’anic recitation, “Anyone who reads this poem of mine will be granted benefit by Allah, for I authored it for His sake alone.” [ibid., 21.263]

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Related SeekersGuidance Content:

SeekersGuidance Blog Posts on Sincerity

Characteristics of a Successful Muslim – Yahya ibn Mu`adh al-Razi

SeekersGuidance Answers on Sincerity

Related SeekersGuidance courses:

Faith in Divine Unity & Trust in Divine ProvidenceShaykh Yahya Rhodus · 12 downloable lessons · 3 live sessionsBased upon Book XXXV of Imam al-Ghazālī’s magnum opus “The Revival of the Religious Sciences” (Ihyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn), this course explains the reality of faith in Allah’s Unity (Tawhīd) and trust in His Providence (Tawakkul), and how to attain these vital states of the heart. This course, dealing with two essential aspects of faith, illustrates how religious knowledge and one’s state of being are both crucial to be able to attain true faith and trust in divine Providence.

Ustadh Faraz A. Khan · 12 downloable lessons · 3 live sessions

This course will help students make the essential connection between sound belief and their daily practice of Islam. Ustadh Faraz Khan will take students through the first half Imam Ghazali’s treatise, The Forty Foundations of Religion. This crucial text provides a detailed introduction to the things that all Muslims must believe about their Creator, then explores how to apply that knowledge in one’s own day-to-day worship and conduct.

The Marvels of the HeartSh. Yahya Rhodus · 12 downloable lessons · 3 live sessions

Knowledge of the heart is the foundation of the Din (religion), therefore this course is a must for all Seekers of Guidance.‘The Wonders of the Heart‘ is the twenty-first book of the third quarter of the Ihya Ulum al-Din. This short course offers a detailed explanation of the text, and explores the meaning of soul (nafs), spirit (ruh), heart (qalb), and intellect (‘aql). These important components as well as other including soldiers of the heart, overall attributes of the heart, the heart’s similitude and Satan’s mastery of the heart, leads one to become well acquainted with their own heart.

Secrets of the Prophetic Chamber

Secrets of the Prophetic Chamber

A rare first-hand account of being inside the chamber housing the blessed body of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him).

The Conversations of Tears and Reverence

I still remember the conversations with the two old men in Mecca, while looking at their weaving. I was in Mecca, so I headed toward the factory of the covering of the Kaaba, and there I learned that the factory has another honor, for it produces also a covering for the Prophetic Chamber.

I met at that time- several years ago- with men who partook in the production and installation, and I didn’t want to waste that opportunity as their youngest was in his sixties and I feared that they would leave this world before I could document this work.

I recorded with them conversations that were mixed with tears and reverence; sometimes words would betray them, and at others, their emotions would choke them, as they spoke of their unique experience. Their limbs shook from just the memory- as if it happened yesterday- and not a quarter of a century ago.

Shaykh Muhammad Ali Madani, head of the automated weaving division of the factory at that time, was generous with me. I learned from him that he was one of those who took part in weaving and installing the covering of the Prophetic Chamber. I said to him, tell me about the covering and the Prophetic Chamber- describe them to me.

His sight wandered far, as if he was bringing those treasured memories before him. Then he answered: On that day, I felt a state of complete amazement take over me. It is a grand spot- of utmost grandeur. I do not know its exact circumference, but it seemed to me that the Prophetic Chamber was 48 meters in circumference.

The awe of the place was so overbearing that nothing attracted my attention. I was so dazzled that I only saw the lamps hanging from the chamber ceiling, which were old gifts that would be given to the Mosque of the Prophet in ancient times. I was told that there were some Prophetic relics that were kept in another place- I don’t know where- but I do know that some historical items were kept in the chamber of sayyida Fatima al-Zahraa- the same place that she lived in.

He added: the chamber covering is a weave made of pure silk, green in color, padded with a strong cotton cloth, and it is crowned by a belt similar to that of the covering of the Honored Kaaba, except that it is red in color. A quarter of its space is taken up by an embroidery of noble Quranic verses from Surat al-Fath, made of lines of cotton and wires of gold and silver…

The covering of the Prophetic Chamber is not changed every year like the covering of the Honored Kaaba, because it is kept inside the chamber and far from the hands of the people and of the elements, and so it is only changed when needed.

Then I met shaykh Ahmad Sahirty, head of the embroidery division of the factory. It was apparent to me – back then- how old he was, and how weak his vision. He took the initiative, saying: How can I speak to you about my feelings at the moment I entered the Prophetic Chamber… I can’t.. That is a speech above my abilities of speech, and I never thought that I would one day be asked about this experience. And I guarantee you that I will not be able to go through it again.

When the Doors Were Opened

He drew nearer to me and added: Look at the lenses of my spectacles- and he pointed at their thickness- and look at my white hair and the weight of the years that I carry. My age I do not count, but I’ve heard them say that I was born in the year 1333 A.H. (1917 C.E.). And in all those years, I did not know a single hobby other than the love of beautiful scents and perfumes. I’ve spent such a long period of time in those years that I’ve lived, trying to satiate that voracious appetite that is still with me; I traveled much and learned much, but I can tell you this with confidence: that I have my own special blends that you will not find with anyone else, and that no one else could ever make.

And I tell you this because I discovered my inability and the meagerness of my knowledge on that blessed night, when the doors were opened to us, and we entered the Prophetic Chamber, and I inhaled perfumes and scents that I have never known before, and have never known since. I still do not know the secret of its composition: it was a scent above scents, an aroma above and beyond aromas- something else that us people of expertise, the people of the trade, have never experienced before.

When I asked him to describe to me the Prophetic Chamber, a slight chill struck him and coursed through his body. And he said in a faint voice: I believe that the chamber is 11 meters in height. Below the green dome is another dome on which is written: “The tomb of the Prophet, the tomb of Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq, and the tomb of Umar ibn al-Khattab”. And I saw also that there was another tomb that was empty, and next to the four tombs was the chamber of sayyida Fatima al-Zahraa, which is the house in which she lived.

From our awe we didn’t know how to remove the special pieces made for the dome- our fingers would shake and our breaths would race. We stayed 14 full nights working from after the Isha prayer until the first adhaan of the Fajr, in order to finish our task. We kept removing the pieces, untying the knots of the old covering, and cleaning all the dust and pigeon feathers that were stuck in that pure place. This scene goes back to the year 1971 C.E., and the covering that we changed was old: it was 75 years old according to the date that was weaved on it, and had never been changed since.

I was the first to enter, with the Sayyid Habib, one of the notables of al-Madina al-Munawwara, As’ad Sheera the director of religious endowments of Madina at the time, and Habib Moghrabi from the factory management, and Abd al-Karim Flomban, Nasir Qari, Abd al-Rahim Bukhari and others. We were 13 men, I don’t remember most of them, for they have left unto the Mercy of Allah.

We were accompanied by the chief of the Aghas who kept the keys to the Prophetic Chamber, and a number of the servants of the Chamber. Whispering was our speech, and that was if signaling was not sufficient. I was, and still am, suffering from weakness of vision and these spectacles have not left my eyes since those days, but in that chamber I was another person… I felt it, and the difference was clear to me.

Strange Happenings

The shaykh Sahirti swore, saying: I used to put the thread into the hole of the needle without my spectacles, despite the dim light in which we worked. How do you explain that? And how do you explain the fact that I didn’t feel the allergy that I suffered – and still suffer- from? Because I cough severely from the slightest bit of dust. But that day, I was not affected by the dust of the chamber, or the sand flying into the air. As if sand was no longer sand, and as if the dust became a medicine for my ailment. I used to feel all during those nights that I was a young man, and that youthfulness had been given back to me.

Another strange thing happened to me whose secret I haven’t understood until today. We had to take out the old covering, and it was carried by whoever carried it. The embroidered band, 36 meters long, remained. I said to them wrap it and leave it. I went up to it, and despite my weakness, carried it over this shoulder. I went out of the Prophetic Chamber with it, without ever feeling its weight. But after that, they came with five young men to carry it from where I had put it down and they couldn’t.

The shaykh began to weep silently and continued, while sighing: Someone asked who carried it and brought it here. I replied saying: me. They didn’t believe me. I said to them: Ask Abd al-Rahim Bukhari, the famous calligrapher of the covering.

—————————

[Source]

And may Allah continuously whelm the Messenger and his family with Salawaats, Peace, Blessings, and Light, until the day in which his brother Messenger, Isa son of Mary, is buried in that fourth empty grave of the Prophetic Chamber, and yet even after that, and forever.

Ramadan Over? – Poem by Aaron Sellars

Ramadan Over? – Aaron Sellars

Ramadan’s only over
For the moon and it’s phase
And the one chained to the world
It’s obedient slave

But never for the soul
Seeking refinement of ways
With a tongue that shouts of blessings
A heart filled with praise

So set sail with its wind
Towards mercy’s flag raised
That the virtue it inspires
Follow us to the grave

-A.H. Sellars, Ramadan 2010

The Personal Arrogance Checklist

The Personal Arrogance Checklist by Abdul S. Ahmed

“The kettle only fills the cup when its spout is lowered
A teacher can only benefit others when he lowers himself before Allah.”

A person might be arrogant, proud, ostentatious or have elements of those qualities if (PLEASE note I have said MIGHT – make your own decision) if:

0. You saw the above list and was proud to see that you are among it and feel that you are actually responsible for that.

1. Reading the above lines makes you roll your eyes or feel uncomfortable that the topic has been brought up.

2. You feel that the majority of the people you speak to have less Islamic knowledge than yourself.

3. You find yourself giving more advice than asking for it, and don’t feel that you need any right now.

4. You don’t agree that that having the above qualities is a indication of a possibility of arrogance.

5. Think of five people you are almost or absolutely sure have less Islamic knowledge than you. Was that easy for you to do?
5a. Now imagine them correcting you in your Salah, or in something you just said in front of a group of friends. Would your heart feel strange if such a thing happened?
5b. You automatically go into “I know what you do not know” mode whenever you speak to these five people and cannot consider speaking to them as intellectual equals or learning something from them or getting advice from them.

6. You have recently started a sentence in public with: “In my humble opinion…”

7. You openly declare your sinfulness in front of people when praised [not to lower yourself in your own eyes, but to show everyone how humble you are], or have strange forced reactions when complimented because you are not sure how to react and want to seem humble before people.

8. Think of a Muslim brother or sister whom you think has said some uninformed things about Islam, but is overall a good person and sincere. Think of someone praising and complimenting that person’s knowledge in front of you. This makes you slightly uncomfortable because you think it is undeserved and you have a better understanding.

9. Assume that there is someone who is/was in a position above you in some way shape or form (jama’ah, msa, masjid, work, school). You automatically assume that they got there through some means, not because they are worthy/competent/knowledgeable but because of shadiness.

10. You can think of at least a few instances where you have been corrected/advised in public and reacted with anger or sarcasm rather than gratitude. It is hard for you take accept advise from people who are younger than you, in your age group, or people who cannot be classified in one or more of the groups listed at the title of this post.

11. Think about all of the places in which you are important: MSA, work, Jama’ah, community work, masjids, etc. You feel that if you were to remove yourself from your activities there, that those groups would actually be at a loss, not realizing that if you were to leave – Allah can easily replace you with someone much more qualified.

12. Your Salah (prayer) is faster in private than it is in public.

13. When you read Quran in private, you imagine what it would be like if other people heard you recite.

14. You say things to people you know they will not understand in order to assert your intellectual superiority over them.

15. You automatically assume that you do have such knowledge that you actually have something so deep that some people won’t understand.

16. You look at brothers or sisters who are not involved with Islamic work or community activism, and feel that you are better than them because you are “useful” to the community while they are not.

17. You are more concerned about making a mistake in a khutbah because of what people would think, as opposed to making a mistake in calling to Allah (swt).

18. When you make a mistake in regular conversation, you find yourself covering up for it by pretending you “knew that..but…”

19. Whenever the reference to sinners is made in the Quran, you don’t wonder for a second, “what if that is me?”

20. Whenever a reference is made to those people who speak without knowledge – you do not immediately think of yourself.

21. Imagine that a major community volunteer leadership position has opened for a young muslim adult. It will be the most influential position in the entire city/community and the decisions made in this position will be able to impact thousands of youth and how/where they receive knowledge about Islam and do youth activities and the ideologies by which they are led.

You cannot think of five people who are two years or more younger than you who should definitely be in this position more than you.

22. A fifteen-year old comes up to you, and tells you that your khutbah/speech/event you organized – sucked. That it didn’t connect to him, that you made mistakes in it, and that you should work on your speaking/organizing skills. but he does it in a nice way – without using the word “sucked”. What do you feel like? Anger?

23. You think about compliments other people give you and feel happy about them. You find yourself drawing nearer to the people who complement you and farther from the people who do not.

24. You don’t think people deserve the effort you put in sometimes.

25. You hear an old person who doesn’t know tajwid recite Quran, terribly. You laugh/cringe and think to yourself that you know what he does not know, rather than realizing that he simply was never taught properly. If he is young, rather than seeking to help him or offer lessons, you just shake your head and leave.

26. You think that scholars who don’t entirely agree with your teachers/leaders have less of an understanding of Islam than you do; and you’ve criticized them publicly without explicit permission from your teachers/leaders.

27. It makes you irritated when people assume that you do not know something which you do.

28. The idea that the only reason you have been given what you have been given (quran, islamic work, etc) is because without it you would be come the greatest sinner on the earth doesn’t really cross your mind. When the time comes for someone to lead any salah and the jama’ah is selecting an imam, you are so used to being pushed up there that you don’t even think about it anymore nor think about how many sins you are hiding from the people behind you.

29. Saying “my teacher” fills you up with just a little ounce of pride that you have a teacher, while the person you are speaking to does not.

30. There is a brother wearing earrings, gold chains, the ghetto-est clothes imaginable, swearing left and right, listening to obscene music, and always hitting on girls. There is also a sister who dresses in revealing clothes, makes obscene remarks, is always looking for a laugh, always makes sarcastic, biting remarks towards other sisters, and is dating two guys.

In reading the above, a feeling of superiority over them already entered your heart. The idea that perhaps they want to change and might be spending more time asking for forgiveness in secret than we spend sinning didn’t enter mind until you read this sentence.

“Modesty, to appear lesser than we are, is commendable. Yet, the exaggeration of humbleness to the extent of appearing abject, is a sin. Mu’adh ibn Jabal reports that the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) said, “Showing excess attachment and appearing abject, reducing oneself to the state of a beggar, does not suit the character of a believer.” The only exception is the humbleness of a student towards his teacher, seeking to receive knowledge. Only knowledge is worth begging for, and worth humbling ourselves to receive. Another example of unlawful humility in Islam is to beg if we have shelter and food, even for only one day. To give someone a small gift with the hope of receiving a greater good is like begging.”

During his Caliphate, Umar (RA) was marching upon Damascus with his army. Abu Ubayda ibn Jerrah was with him. They came upon a little lake. Umar descended from his camel, took off his shoes, tied them together, and hung them on his shoulder. He took the halter of his camel and together they entered the water. Seeing this in front of the army, Abu Abayda said, “Oh the Commander of the believers, how can you be so humble in front of all your men?” Umar answered, “Woe to you, Abu Ubayda! If only anyone else other than you thought this way! Thoughts like this will cause the downfall of the Muslims. Don’t you see, we were indeed a very lowly people. Allah raised us to honor and greatness through Islam. If we forget who we are and wish other than Islam, which elevated us, the One who raised us, surely will debase us.”

“One will not enter Paradise, if one has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his/her heart.” a man then asked, “One may love his clothes to look good and his shoes to look good?!” The prophet replied, “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty, arrogance is: rejecting the truth and looking down on people.”

Faghfirlanaa, fa innahu laa yaghfiru adh-dhunooba illa Anta.

Which of the Last Ten Nights of Ramadan Isn’t Laylatul Qadr?

file000386365548Which of the Last Ten Nights of Ramadan Isn’t Laylatul Qadr?

Despite knowing that the Blessed Night of Power falls somewhere in the last ten days of Ramadan, the question continues to pop up: Which night is Laylatul Qadr? But before we ask such a question it would help to step back and look deep into the spirituality of Islam.

Rather than mechanistically looking at the last ten nights as a gambling of a limited supply of worshiping energy, scarcely interspersed here and there, and wrestling with ourselves on whether tonight is an odd night or an even night depending on which moon-sighting system was used, we can save ourselves some stress by considering Laylatul Qadr and what it means to be a sincere worshiper. At the heart of any act of worship is sincere intention (ikhlas) and in skewing our ibadah in only a few of the last ten nights, hoping to bump into the blessed Night of Power by chance, not effort, we risk damaging that crucial sincere intention, so that even if we do perform ibadah on the Night of Power, we run the risk of a diminished reward.

How does it appear to our Lord, Allah subhana wa ta’ala, to see His servants knit-picking over which of the last ten nights is the Night of Power? Is not the reward generous enough that we should rush to it? If we are being stingy with our worship, then do we truly yearn to seek the Face of our Lord? If we find weakness in our hearts, then these are the tough questions we need to ask ourselves.

We can also ask ourselves: “If tonight were the Night of Power, and I did happen to pray this night, but I neglected worship on all the other of the last ten nights- is this proper adab towards my Creator? Do I expect my Lord’s generosity while I am greedy with my worship? Even with my poor adab, if I were to gain the reward, what sort of relationship is this to have with my Lord? Don’t I desire closeness (qurb) with my Most Merciful Lord?” No matter how tired you are, you will be fully rested the next day, so what does it matter if you are feeling tired in worship when the reward is worth a 1,000 months?

And whosoever honors the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety (taqwa) of the heart. (Qur’an, 22.32)

The Night of Power is undoubtedly a tremendous symbol of Allah, and the question of which of the last ten nights is the Night of Power can be answered through the meanings of this verse. Honoring the Night of Power entails not simply worshiping during it, but honoring all of the last ten nights. Seen from this perspective we can ask our nafs rhetorically, “Which of the last ten nights of Ramadan isn’t Laylatul Qadr?” And as Ramadan greets us goodbye in honoring the last ten nights with due worship, we honor the greater blessing that is Ramadan.

May Allah bless us with the fullest reward of Laylatul Qadr, ameen.