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Reviving the Sunnah of Being Optimistic, by Shaykh Ahmed Abdo

How did the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, remain optimistic throughout the years of trial and tribulation, which he, his family and companions endured?

Shaykh Ahmed Abdo presents an uplifting insight at this lecture held at Lakemba Mosque in Sydney, Australia.

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Resources for seekers

The Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ Forbearance, by Imam Khalid Latif

In these dark and confusing times, Imam Khalid Latif reminds us how the best of mankind, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ responded to adversity.

Zayd ibn San’an (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates:
Once, God’s Messenger  borrowed some money from me. I was not yet a Muslim then. I went to him to collect my debt before its due time, and insulted him, saying; ‘You the children of ‘Abd al-Muttalib, are very reluctant to pay your debts!’ ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) became very angry with this insult of mine and shouted; ‘O enemy of God! Were it not for the treaty between us and the Jewish community, I would cut off your head! Speak to God’s Messenger politely!’
However, God’s Messenger  smiled at me and, turning to ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), said, “Umar, pay the man his debt! And add to it the amount of twenty gallons because you have frightened him!”
Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) relates the rest of the story: “We went together. On the way, Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him) spoke to me unexpectedly;

O ‘Umar! You got angry with me. But I have found in him all the features of the Last Prophet recorded in the Torah, the Old Testament. However, there is this verse in it: ‘His mildness surpasses his anger. The severity of impudence to him increases him only in mildness and forbearance.’ In order to test his forbearance, I uttered what I uttered. Now I am convinced that he is the Prophet whose coming the Torah predicted, so, I believe and bear witness that he is the Last Prophet.

The mildness and forbearance of God’s Messenger  sufficed for the conversion of Zayd ibn San’an (may Allah be pleased with him), who was one of the Jewish scholars of the time. [Suyuti, al-Khasa’is, 1.26; I. Hajar, al-Isabah, 1.566.]
The Prophet was a person of Haleem, his example for us was that he had a sense of kindness and love and a sense of justice and compassion.
Your prayer is not only for you but for all of humanity, your forbearance impacts all of humanity. Look inside and ask yourself “What am I going to give?”
The Prophet in his forbearance was always merciful, compassionate, generous, loving and a source of hope.
Pray, smile and love others from your heart. The things that are happening around us, hardships do exist, ask yourself how will you meet it? If you meet it with anything less than true forbearance, to be able to recognise and what it means for us individually and communally, Allah will give us opportunities for growth and we will have to decide if we are going to take it on or not.

We are grateful to ICNYU for this recording.

Resources for seekers

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Is It Permissible to Sign up for a Free Trial Offer With the Intention of Cancelling it at the End of the Free Term?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Is it permissible to sign up for a free trial offer of something and benefit from it with the intention of cancelling at the end of the free term?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

There is no problem with this since one is benefitting from such an offer with the permission of the owner and it is customarily understood that people will utilize the service without renewing their subscription. As such, there is nothing in this that contravenes Islamic law.

Wassalam,

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

How Can We Say Allah Loves Us, yet He Puts Us in Difficulty?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Allah is putting me through test after test.
I understand that life is meant to be a test but what I don’t understand is how you can test someone that you love? Surely if Allah loves us, He should try and help us and ease our worries. I have done a lot of acts of worship but things are only getting worse…

Shouldn’t we just all hope to die?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah grant you tremendous relief after all of your heartache.

Tribulations

“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, which people are most severely tested?’ He said: ‘The Prophets, then the next best and the next best. A person is tested according to his religious commitment. If he is steadfast in his religious commitment, he will be tested more severely, and if he is frail in his religious commitment, his test will be according to his commitment. Trials will continue to afflict a person until they leave him walking on the earth with no sin on him.’ [Ibn Majah]

Trials are an inevitable part of this life. Reflect on the stories of the Prophets (upon them be blessings and peace), and how much they were tested. Being in the dunya can be unbelievably painful. It can also contain tremendous joy. All this passes – the good of it, and the bad of it. I pray that Allah grants you a multitude of ways to cope, out of His Mercy. InshaAllah your heartache is expiation for you, and an elevation of your rank in Jannah.

Losing hope

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “None of you should wish for death because of a calamity that has afflicted him, but if he must do something he should say: O Allah, keep me alive so long as life is good for me and cause me to die if death is better for me.” [Sahih Bukhari]

“Verily, with the hardship, there is relief.” [Qur’an, 94:6]

Dear sister, please do not despair and wish for death. For as long as you are alive, the doors of repentance remain open. Trust that Allah’s promise is true. Verily after every hardship is ease. Although you might not feel this right now, take a deep breath, exhale, and reflect on the moments in your life where Allah granted you ease after difficulty. Have a good opinion of your Lord. Shaytan wants to trick you into despair, so safeguard yourself from his trap.

Purpose of Hardship

Please take the time to read this brilliant explanation on Suffering and Divine Wisdom, and take the time to reflect on the role of suffering in our journey towards Allah.

Creation

One of the realities of being a created being is accepting that we cannot place demands on our Creator. Allah does whatever He wills. At the same time, remember His Mercy.

Alhamdulilah, all of your acts of worship are praiseworthy, so please continue them, but shift your attitude. Surrender to His Decree, instead of holding onto this idea of a transaction: “If I do x then Allah will give me y.” Allah is under no obligation to answer our duas on our timeline, as painful as this can be for us. Seek comfort in the reality that there is always, always, always wisdom in what He withholds, and in what He gives us, as much as it can hurt.

Solutions

1.Perform the Prayer of Need during the last third of the night. Come to Allah, brokenhearted. Beg Him for relief.

2.Reflect on your contribution to your difficulty. Do you need to repent? Is there someone you have wronged? Seek to redress these immediately.

3.Continue to give in charity and make dua for ease.

4.When you perform these acts of worship, do so with an attitude of humility.

5.It sounds like you are overwhelmed and in need of help. Could you find a kind therapist, psychologist or life coach to speak to? Do you have good friends or family members who can give you a listening ear?

6.Exercise daily, eat nourishing foods and get enough sunshine.

Please refer to the following links:

A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?

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

Does Allah Hate Me?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I just started practising one year ago and a few months ago, Allah tested me with a big trial. To this day, I’m still trying to understand why it happened and I’m trying to move on.I did something wrong and regret it. I get thoughts of disbelief, and I’m so scared of being a disbeliever. Does Allah not like or want me anymore?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well.

Trials

“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested?” [Qur’an, 29:2]

Trials and tribulations are part of life in this dunya. Only Allah Most High knows the wisdom behind the tests He places us through. We may never know why certain things unfold in our lives, and that’s OK. Our job is to respond to trials in a way that pleases Allah. When we fall short and make mistakes, then we pick ourselves up, repent, and keep moving forward. Obsessing about past mistakes will not change the past.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When Allah loves a servant, He tests him,” [Tirmidhi]

Failing a test from Allah can bring you closer to Allah, through the realisation that you are weak without Him. Remember that every human being alive today is tested in some way, and you are not alone in making mistakes. Turn to Allah and seek comfort in constant dhikr, dua, and waking up in the last third of the night.

Thoughts of disbelief

“Verily the religion is ease, and no one shall make the religion hard except that it will destroy him. So be balanced, do your best, and rejoice! And seek help in the morning, the early evening, and something of the night.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Having thoughts of disbelief does not make you a disbeliever. It sounds like you are experiencing baseless misgivings (waswasa). Please click here to read what you can do to combat these baseless misgivings. Remember that shaytan wants you to despair, so do not give into that. Ours is a religion of hope, love, and forgiveness. I pray that Allah soothes your sorrow, and elevates your rank in Jannah, inshaAllah.

Please refer to the following links:

How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment?
A Reader On Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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:

What Does the Verse 286 of Surah Al Baqara Mean ?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalamu alaykum
What does the verse 286 of Surah Al Baqara mean? Is it referring to spiritual aspect of hardship or does it refer to the physical aspect of it?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Allah Most High says, “God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear: each gains whatever good it has done, and suffers its bad…” [2.286]
Suyuti explains, “God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear, that is, what it is capable of bearing; each gains whatever good it has done, of good and its reward, and suffers its bad, of evil and its burden: no person shall be requited for another’s sin or for what he has not earned, even if he was tempted to do it.” [Tafsir Jalalayn]
Mufti Muhammad Shafi` writes in his Ma`arif al-Qur’an [1.722], “…thoughts that enter the heart without one’s intention and control, and are not translated into action, stand all excused in the sight of Allah Almighty. Deeds that are undertaken with choice and volition will be the only ones apprehended and called to account.”
Please also see: How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment? and: A Time to Build: How Believers Respond To Trials and Tests
And Allah alone gives success.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.