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The Two Eyes of Faith – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus reminds us that simple acts arising from complete submission to the will of Allah can do more than move mountains, they can bring people to the religion.

 

We always begin by praising our Lord, Exalted and Most High, and recognizing that al-hamd, that is all praise, is due to our Lord, Exalted and Most High. He is the One that is simultaneously deserving of all praise because of everything that He gifts, not only human beings but all of creation, and He is the One, Exalted and Most High, that is praised for every gift that we experience.

That we show our shukr (gratitude) and our hand (praise) to our Lord, Exalted and Most High, in the greatest blessing of all of the blessings: it is the blessing of “la ilaha illa Allah. Muhammad rasul Allah.” The blessing of being affiliated to the best of creation, the Khatim al-Nabiyyin, the Seal of the Prophets, sayyidina Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him and his Family and Companions.

This is a blessing that is so great no matter how much that we come to know and appreciate that blessing here in this world, we will only truly come to appreciate it on day on the Day of Judgment. For anyone that is ignorant of whom Muhammad is in this world, everyone will come to know who Muhammad is in the next world. For him belongs the praiseworthy station (maqam mahmud). For him belongs the greatest of all intercessions (shifa‘a al-kubra).

And we know that our Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, will prostrate beneath the throne and then it will be said to him: “Ask and you will be given. Intercede and you will be granted intercession.” and then our Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, will intercede for people. But this Day of Judgment is a day that is not easy. It is a day that is subjectively experienced, meaning every single human being will experience the Day of Judgment based upon their degree of faith and upon their acts that they have done.

The very best of all possibilities is for it to be like to light rakats: a couple of minutes. but the very worst of possibilities is that it will be like fifty thousand days. It will be like fifty thousand years. It will be like fifty thousand years – from two light cycles of prayer to fifty thousand years. And there will be people that are somewhere in between.

The Greatest Gift Is Faith

This is why that the greatest gift that we’ve been given as believers is the gift of faith, which means that we can live a life of purpose. This is likewise one of the greatest gifts that we can give to the modern world in which we live. In a day and age where you find people moving further and further away from belief, and that the state that results is oftentimes a state of agitation and a state of panic, because Iman is related to Aman. Iman is related to security.

If you do not have Iman how can you ever ever feel a sense of security? It’s that security that you recognize that you have a Rabb. And our Rabb is Rabb al-‘alamin. He is the Lord and the very meaning of the Rabb is that He is the giver of tarbiya. In other words, that He takes something from its beginning and that He sustains that and He allows it to grow and to thrive until it reaches its fruition.

The ‘alamin is everything that Allah Most High created. Specifically, yes, that we refer to the angels and mankind and the jinn-kind. However, it relates to everything that Allah Most High has created. Everything that we know and everything that we do not know. There is a large percentage of Allah Most High’s creation that we will never ever come to know, because you can’t see it through a microscope or a telescope.

And successively that you find that in relation to the dimensions of creation, that they are larger and that they are larger, and they are more and more vast. And what does our Lord say about the Kursi – Our Lord’s footstool? His footstool encompasses everything that is in the heavens and in the earth.

If you just look at the terrestrial heaven and you look at all of the amazing things that we’ve discovered and the incredible intergalactic distances of the known world, that world that we can either see and observe or that we can determine by a mathematical calculation, it is immense. It it is vast.

But you imagine then what it would be like the other worlds that Allah Most High has created. The other dimensions, the seven heavens for instance, what type of distances are we speaking about here? We can only understand them as a concept. We can’t understand them in reality. If that applies for things even within the terrestrial heaven, what about the other things that our Lord has created, Exalted and Most High?

Seeing with Two Eyes

What is the meaning that we take from that, that relates to our Iman? That we that find a source of security in that, because the Rabb is the One who is going to take care of what He created and what He brought to fruition. This is why we always have to remind ourselves that history is in good hands, with no anthropomorphic meaning. Our Lord is the Lord of history and the Umma of our Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, is an Umma marhuma. There are many things of this Din that you cannot fully understand or comprehend until you take into consideration the next world, the afterlife.

There are certain things that you will never fully come to understand their wisdom in this world, until you see the way that it’s played out in the next. Much of the suffering that we see happening right now, as we speak to the Muslim world, to the Muslim community, and to individuals. We don’t even need to list names because there’s such a long list now that it would take too long to list in how many places that there is affliction and calamity and difficulty, that were you to think about just one incident, it’s hard to really wrap your head around.

Well, what gives you a source of solace is to know that we have a Lord who is Just, and that no one, not one human being ever that has ever lived, after the Day of Judgment happens, will ever feel like they have not been given their right. Everyone will be gifted their right. Every single human being who was wronged will be given retribution.

We should always remember that history is in good hands. We should always remember that the Umma of our Prophet, blessing and peace be upon him, is an Umma marhuma. That Allah brings forth, in other words, the punishment of this Umma when we go astray in this world before the next.

One Foot in the Hereafter

We have to learn, to teach ourselves to see things from two perspectives. We have to see everything from the standpoint of it being the divine decrees unfolding right before our eyes. Snd also how it is that we that judge that particular incident outwardly from the standpoint of the Shari‘a. We have to look at everything simultaneously in two ways.

That applies to even a sickness that we get. If we all of a sudden find out that we’ve been diagnosed with cancer what is our first response? If we’re no different than any other people, our first response will be one of panic. But to degree that there is Iman will be to the degree that we see that illness or sickness or disease or terminal condition in light of our faith.

I actually know an individual, and this is someone that I met and saw him with my own eyes. This might sound a bit strange but this shows you what happens when you have strong Iman. You have an ability to interpret or, in other words, respond to the divine decree in a way that other people simply can’t do.

This person, when he was informed that he had cancer, the very first thing he did was smile. And they asked him, “Why on earth are you smiling?” He said, “I see this as: now this is the time that I’ve been waiting for. which this is the time for me to meet my Lord.” He interpreted that sickness in a very different way than someone else would.

And we don’t enjoin sickness upon anyone. We don’t want that for our own selves, but when it comes, outwardly you do all the treatments necessary to cure yourself of that disease or sickness. However, when the time comes for us to meet our Lord what is our state? What is going to be our state when we take our last breath, which for us is the ultimate moment of truth?

We Die the Way We Live

Generally speaking we die according to the way that we lived and we will be raised according to the way that we die. So we need to remind ourselves of the life that we’re living here in this world. This world is perishing in and of its nature. It’s been created to do so. Whether it’s going to collapse on itself or whether it’s going to expand so much that it freezes. We don’t really know what’s going to actually happen, and how our Lord, Exalted and Most High, is going to destroy the heavens in the earth. Hut we know it’s going to happen when He wills it to happen.

For us when we take our last breath, that is the Sa‘at al- Sughra. That is the “lesser of the two hours,” because we should always remember that sleep is the brother of death. Likewise our own death is, in that sense, the little brother of the greater Hour, because then we transition into the next world.

Our Prophet taught us, blessings and peace be upon him, that the grave is the first stage of the stages of the afterlife. We know that the grave will either be a garden from the gardens of paradise or a pit from the pits of hell. May Allah, Blessed and Most High, grant us refuge from any punishment in the grave, because if we’re unable to bear that punishment in the grave – and who can? – then how are we going to be able to bear the punishment of the Day of Judgment, let alone what happens after that?

We are all, in that sense, miskin (in dire need) before our Lord, Exalted and Most High, who has decreed that there are two final abodes. This is not about the human beings’ choice. Will the human being have everything that he desires? It is not about what you want, and it is not about what I want, or what anyone else wants. This is the decree of the One who has the traits of Irada, of Divine Will, and He does whatever He wants. If He wills for something to happen, He says “Be! And it is.” How do we respond to that? With complete and total submission.

This is one of the most beautiful things of all, if anyone has had that experience here in this blessed masjid – to have not been in a life of faith and then convert to this blessed religion, and to experience the beauty of submission. Because the reality is is that we’re not in control. If anyone thinks they’re in control it’s a delusion. Thinking that we’re in control is illusory. It’s a delusion.

We Have No Control

We are not in control. And when we learn to submit to the One who is truly in control… How many times in the Qur’an are we reminded to have tawakkul – to place our trust in Allah? How many times in the Qur’an are we reminded of these traits? “And I assign my affairs over to Allah.” None of this negates taking the means. We are required to take the means, but we’re also required to place our trust in our Lord, Exalted and Most High.

Living up to these principles is what’s going to enable us as a community to navigate any difficult time. And for us this is really what it’s all about. In the society outside this door, when you walk out through the streets, when you meet and greet people ,when you’re in the store, when you’re at work, when you’re at school, I just have a plea.

Please remember that whether you realize it or not there will be people looking at you. There will be people that take their understanding of Islam based upon how you interact with them. I just want you to remember that people like myself who didn’t know anything about Islam, if we would have met people who brought a bad name to Islam, how would we have entered into this Din?

This is an absolute responsibility upon the shoulders of every single person in this room. No one is exempt – man woman and even children, although they’re not taken to account until they become legally responsible. We are required to have principled engagement. What is principled engagement? It is that we immerse ourselves in the meanings of Iman, in the meanings of Islam, and in the meanings of Ihsan. Then we engage based upon these principles.

We make contributions in every situation or circumstance that we find ourselves in. It’s very simple there’s people think that there’s some type of overly sophisticated, complicated, philosophical way that we need to be in the societies in which we live. Yes, there is an element of strategy that needs a lot of thought. However, it’s very simple. As believers we very simply need to be.

Try to Just Be Muslim

If we would just be in all the meanings of being – bringing to life the Sunna of our Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, that would speak with mute eloquence, much more eloquently than anything else that we could say merely on the tongue. Our actions would speak much louder than our words, and what would happen then is that the light of the teachings of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him – which is the secret of the penetration of Iman and it’s absorption in the heart of individual – would spread amongst the peoples’ hearts that are around.

Our Lord speaks about “the one who was dead and We brought him back to life,” and then what? That “We brought him back to life and We made him light spread amongst people.” If you look at the way that this is expressed, it is that light flows and it emanates in mankind (fi al-nas).” And for those for whom it has been preordained, they’re going to accept that guidance. It will come to their hearts.

The more that we live up to these teachings, that we live up to these principles, the more people will experience the beauty of “la ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah.” By Allah! There is nothing more beautiful than this Din. There is nothing more beautiful than the way of our Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, his Sunna and all of his teachings.

What we’re required to do is to embrace that beauty so we become beautified through it. To embrace that light so we become enlightened through it. And then share it freely with people, inwardly and outwardly, and see ourselves as servants of all of humanity. If we did this we would see amazing things.


This article is a edited transcript of a Friday sermon given by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus at London Muslim Mosque as part of the Age of Anger – Southern Ontario Tour, April 2017.


 

The Unconditional Hope – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani reminds us of one of the sunnas of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, which is that he never lost hope, had complete trust in Allah, and His plan.

 

One of the key sunnas of our beloved Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, is that our beloved Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, was always positive. He was always full of hope in Allah Most High. It didn’t matter what was happening to him; what was happening around him; the Prophet’s hope and positive attitude was unconditional.

The reason for this is that the hope of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, is the hope that Allah Most High has commanded believers to have. It is not a home based on your hopefulness of whether things will work out according to your plans, according to your means, according to your facilitation.

Normally when we hope is when we think things are going right – that I’ve got things in order, so I’m hopeful. You prepared so you say, “I am hopeful that this will work out.” This is worldly hope. But the nature of dunya is that things are not in your control. Zubayr may want to marry Zubayda, but it’s not in his control. Uncle Jamil’s involved. And there’s a big problem of Zubayda herself.

As the poet said, “I went mad and madly in love with Layla, but she went madly in love with someone else.” And the most difficult of madness is her madness. And you feel you are going to lose hope, because why are things not working out according to my plans? They’re not working out according to my circumstances.

In our times when so many things around us are so distressful that we want our communities, not just in the West but also in the Muslim lands, to be communities of faith, communities of Mercy, communities of excellence, communities that embody the good that the Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him, has come with of the religious good. But also spreading that mercy and beauty and excellence that is the embodiment of the prophetic way.

Though we see much that is not the way we want it – not the way that we would hope – and then distressful things happen. Syria is happening. Iraq is happening. The Rohingya situation in Burma. What’s going on in Congo. What’s going on in Sudan. Name a country and there’s problems. What is going on in India with Muslim rights being under threat. What is going on with the rise of Islamophobia in Canada.

We were hopeful for a while there: “Trudeau’s in power and this and that. Everything’s “fine.” So we had hope as things seem to be going well, but then all these things happen and “Oh, what’s going on?” People lose hope. This is all from shortsightedness of the Sunna of our beloved Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him.

The True Nature of Hope

The reality of hope that Allah Most High has called us to have – the hope of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him – is not a hope that’s dependent on ourselves. It’s not a hope that is dependent on our circumstances. It’s not a hope dependent on whether things are going according to our plans and the way things appear to us. Our hope is in Allah Most High and the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him.

We can’t even begin to imagine the states of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. Ima al-Ghazali said that “No one knows a prophet in reality except a prophet.” What makes a prophet a prophet is the fact, the reality, that they receive revelation from the Lord of the universe. That’s what prophethood is. That this person is being directly granted revelation from beyond creation, from the Lord of the unseen.

How can any one who doesn’t experience that reality truly comprehend what is a prophet? We see some shadows of what the prophetic reality is in his teachings, in his guidance, in his example. But what is his reality? As one of the Sahaba said, “My eyes never had their fill of The Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him. We never gained everything that we could from him.”

The Prophet’s hope, blessings and peace be upon him, is in his Lord and his Lord is beyond limits – beyond limitation. Allah Most High has called us to place our hope in Him. He has called us to place our trust in Him. He has called us to seek from Him. But He has also made promises that He is the sufficiency; that He will fulfill the hope of all those who place their hope in Him. That he will take care of those who trust in Him. That he answers the call of those who call upon Him.

Three Basic Realities

These are three basic realities that we can never forget. That Allah has commanded us to have hope in Him and promised us. That He will fulfill the hope of those who place their hope in him. He will take care of all who trust in Him. That He answers the call of those who call upon Him. “Whoever places their trust in Allah, He is their complete sufficiency.” (Sura al-Talaq 65:3) And His promise is a reality. “Allah does not go against his promise.” (Sura Aal Imran 3:9)

We believe this, so our hope, that hope that we see manifest in our beloved Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, is not a contingent hope. It is not a hope dependent on ourselves or on anything in creation. Our hope is in Allah Most High. Our trust is inAllah. We don’t trust based on our taking of means. The key for that is our dua.

Many people make grave mistakes when they make dua, that “Will Allah answer my dua?” This is not permissible to think. It’s not permissible to think because Allah Most High tells us, “And your Lord says, ‘Call upon me. I will indeed answer you.’” (Sura al-Ghafir 40:60) Our beloved Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “Call upon Allah with complete certainty (yaqin) in His response.”

It is actually a point of aqida. If you look at in the classical works of Islamic beliefs of Ahl al-Sunna, [this is] one of the principles they mention – so this is not just a matter of fiqh. It’s not just a sunna to make dua. It’s a point of aqida. Imam Ibrahim al-Laqqani in Jawharat al-Tawhid, says: “The truth is that dua benefits.” This is a point of belief.

Allah tells us: “And your Lord says, ‘Call upon me. I will indeed answer you.’” Allah Most High also tells us: “If my servants ask you regarding Me, I am indeed near. I answer the call of those who call upon Me when they call.” (Sura al-Baqara 2:186)

We believe this. It is manifest truth. So we should uphold this. Are you feeling hopeful about your own faith? Are you feeling hopeful about your family, your children? Are you feeling hopeful about our community? Are you feeling hopeful about the Umma of the Beloved of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him? If your answer is not “Absolutely!” then your hope is misaligned with the hope that the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, has taught us.

Because our hope is not in ourselves. Our hope is not in others. Our hope is not in circumstances. Our home is in Rabb al-‘alamin, the Lord of all existence. And who is the Rabb? Even the meaning the word Rabb – we typically translate it as Lord. But Rabb has the meanings of mercy. He is the caring, the cherishing, the nurturing, the loving.

Rabb Is of the Names of Mercy

When we say, Allah, this called lafdh al-jalala: the Name of Majesty. It is the absoluteness of Allah. But Rabb is from the Names of Mercy. The ulama tell us that when we make dua from the dua of the Qur’an and the Sunna – when we say, “Allah,” the predominant meaning is of awe of Allah and of our neediness before Allah. But when we say, “Rabb” – “Rabbana atina fi al-dunya asana, wa fi al-akhira asana, wa qina min adhab al-nar,” for example – Lord, we say this with hope and with a sense of Allah’s mercy. That is why it is better to translate Rabb as “the merciful Lord, the cherishing Lord, the caring Lord, the loving Lord.”

This is where our hope lies. Our hope is in Allah. “Upon Allah, let trust those who place their trust,” as Allah Most High tells us. (Sura Ibrahim 14:12) Our master Umar, Allah be pleased with him, relates that the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “Were you to trust upon Allah as He deserves to be trusted,” with a sense of whom are you placing your trust in, because even in worldly life most people aren’t that trustworthy but there are some people that, if they give you their word, you know they’ll do it. So we trust them, but what about the One who’s sustaining all existence? If He makes you a promise and He has told you to trust in Him and everything tells you that this is true?

“Whoever places their trust in Allah then Allah is their sufficiency.” To the extent that you place your trust in Allah, to that extent He will be sufficient for you. So we should not feel at all afraid about the way things are. We should not lose hope [asking] “What will happen to my din? What will happen to my family? What will happen to my children? What will happen to my community? What will happen to the Umma?

Our responsibility is to have hope. That’s why the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, though full of concern was always positive and cheerful. Even in Mecca when people were being oppressed, even his own Companions, he would be unerringly positive, blessings and peace be upon him. He would promise the Sahaba that a day will come and tell them of how things would be in the future. Why? Because he has absolute trust in Allah Most High, absolute hope in Allah. We should be wary of losing hope. Of fearing things around us.

Trust in Actions Is Misplaced

One of the great scholars of our din Ibn Ata’illah says, in one of the great works of Islamic spirituality, [al-Hikma], which is explaining the sunnas of the heart of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him: “From the signs that you are relying on actions is losing hope when downfalls occur.” When disliked matters occur.

From the signs that you’re relying on actions, whether it’s your actions or the actions of others. – What will my children do? What will my family do? What will my community do? What will the Umma do? – Are you relying on them? If you do then here’s a basic principle: The dunya disappoints. You’ll be disappointed.

Rather we are commanded, we are obligated, to hope in Allah, to trust in Allah, and to seek from Allah. The test of that is when distressful things happen does it shake your hope, your reliance, your trust, and it shouldn’t, because the giver is not you. The giver is not people. The giver is Allah Most High.

The test of hope though is what Allah Most High tells us in Sura al-Kahf 18:110, “Whoever hopes for the meeting with their Lord, let him work righteousness.” So you have that hope that I want to meet Allah in a good state. I want to meet Allah and he is pleased with me. I want to meet Allah. with him accepting me amongst his beloved servants. You have that hope.

Our responsibility is not to worry, is not to be concerned. Our responsibility is to act with excellence. Like they say in the service industry, “you don’t ask what is going on. Your responsibility is service with a smile.” Keep smiling and keep serving, and you get paid. It doesn’t matter if the company is making money. It’s not my business. You’re working for the Lord of the universe. There is no loss in the business of being a servant of Allah. This business is lasting until the Last Day, so don’t worry.

The other part of worrying is, who makes things happen? Some people get so distressed: “Oh my God, what happened in London?” Yes, we are saddened, angered, upset, at what happened. But insofar as this is wrong, and this is not what we should do, and this is something that we have to say has nothing to do with our religion, has nothing to do with our Prophet, has nothing to do with what we accept. But taking it beyond that to being worried about what’s going on in this world? Guess what? Allah is the Creator of everything.

What You Don’t Have to Worry About

Everything happens by Allah’s decree. There’s a wisdom in it. You don’t have to worry about that part. What you do have to worry about is: “Let them do works that are righteous, that are good,” so when distressful things happen it’s not your business. Why are they happening? Did you do it? No. If you did you have to repent and redress and so on. But that’s your action. If you didn’t do it why you feeling responsible for it?

Your responsibility is, what can I do about it? So what do we do? Renew your hope in Allah. Renew your trust in Allah. Ask Allah for the good. No amount of news will change things. If anything it will put you more down, make you more fearful, make you more hesitant and less trusting. Rather, renew your hope in Allah, renew your trust in Allah, and ask Allah for the good. If it’s a test you are facing, ask Allah for the good for yourself. If it’s a test happening elsewhere, ask Allah for the good in that situation.

Many people say, “Oh my God, what’s going on in…?” Name the country. Even if you answer that question does it make things better? No, so you ask Allah for the good. That is hope. It is seeking the good from Allah and then taking the means for that good yourself. So you say, “Okay, there are people who are misguided. Individuals in our communities with wrong understandings of religion. Whatever caused them to be instigated, to be alienated, there’s no justification for the wrong, because our religion then teaches us that we are people of principle. Our Messenger is a Messenger of principle. So even if someone else is doing wrong, even if others are doing wrong ,it does not allow us to do the wrong.

Read how the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, entered Mecca after two decades of being wronged, then abused and attacked and opposed and derided. That is what we take as our standard. We only respond with the good or that which is better.

So you asked for the good and then wonder, What can I do about it? Now you might not be able to do something about what happens in London. You may not be able to do something about what happens in Iraq. Say, Well there is something I can do? There are wrong understandings of religion being promoted. I want to promote good understandings of religion. These people who have bad impressions of Islam. I want to be involved in our own community to spread sound perceptions of Islam. How? Just uphold the Sunna. Feed people. Give gifts to people. Thank people.

The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, was nursed for a brief period of time by sayyida Halima al-Sa‘diyya, and of course he was nourished when he was a child. Five decades later, more than fifty years later, in Madina, if anyone from her tribe would come to Madina, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, would honor them. Why? He taught us that “Whoever does not express thanks to people does not thank Allah.”

We don’t do good in the community, in the society, for public relations. We do it because we are followers of the Beloved Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him. Thank people. We live in a society where so many things work well. Have we thanked the garbage collectors? Have we thanked the people who are putting salt on our roads so the cars do not slip? There are so many things that happen well in our community, in our society.

Thank people. Give respect where respect is due. Be part of good initiatives because – that’s the question for us – we don’t have to fear, we don’t have to be scared, we don’t have to lose hope. Rather, the believer, our hope is in Allah. We ask Allah for the good and then we take the means to it. And that’s it.

A Beautiful Reminder

We’ll close with a beautiful example of the Hijra of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. Sayyidina Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, Allahe be pleased with him, had prepared for the Hegira in advance. He knew that it that the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, was most likely going to migrate too. And the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, told him to hold back. So he was hopeful that he’ll be the one who traveled with the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. He hadn’t asked explicitly, but he’d already purchased his mount and the mount for the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, a month in advance.

This is action. Abu Bakr, Allah be pleased with him, did not worry. “Who will I travel with? Who will the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, travel with? Oh, my goodness, what’s going on?” You place your trust in Allah, but you take the means with excellence. When they left on the Hijra – of course the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, paid for his own mount, even though much of his wealth had been misappropriated by the Meccans. He paid for it in full. It is one of the miracles of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. Where did he pay from for things when you didn’t have money?

When they headed out sayyidina Abu Bakr was doing something really strange because he was concerned. Sometimes he’d walk ahead of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. He’d be looking around. Sometimes he’d walk to the right of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. Sometimes he’d walk behind the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. Sometimes to his left and then back to the front.

The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, smiled and said, “O Abu Bakr, why are you walking in this way?” He said, “O Messenger of Allah, when I think that they may attack I walk ahead of you. When I think that they may catch up to us from the back, I walk behind. What if they try to ambush us from left or right? I stand on that side.” The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, was just smiling. Why? Because his trust in Allah. Review the Hijra of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. We should all connect to it.

In the cave, sayyidina Abu Bakr, out of his overflowing love and concern for the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, he was taking the means, but his heart was, at that time, a little overwhelmed. According to some narrations he ripped his own clothing, as much as he could, to plug the holes in the cave, and he stuck his toe, it is said, in some narrations, and he was getting bitten by the scorpion. And his face was changing but he made no noise, because he didn’t want to disturb the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, when he was resting.

When they saw that the enemy approaching, he said to the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, “They just have to look towards their feet and they will see us!” What the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said then is something that applies for eternity. It is an eternal eternal truth.

When he says to his Companion – sayyidina Abu Bakr is the Companion of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, by the word of the Lord of the Heavens – “Fear not. For Allah is with us.” (Sura al-Tawba 9:40) This is the message. Don’t be afraid of all these things. Allah is the Lord of the world. We place our hope in Allah. We place our trust in Allah. We asked Allah Most High and He said, “Call upon Me and I will answer you.”

So don’t worry about your faith, in this sense take, the means. Don’t worry about your children. Don’t worry about your family. Don’t worry about your community. Don’t worry about the Umma. Ask Allah for the good, but then take the means, with excellence, to fulfill it.

And always remember, “Fear not. For Allah is with us.”

 

 


This article was transcribed and edited from a Friday khutba delivered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani in March 2017 at the Jame Masjid Oakville, Noor-ul-Haram.


A Dua to Make Someone My Spouse

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil is asked whether there are specific dua one can recite that makes the desired person become one’s spouse.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am interested in marrying my friend, but the problem is that he does not want to get married right now. He likes me, but we haven’t talked about marriage. He says he is not ready.

I am praying hard to Allah to make me his wife. when he gets ready. Meanwhile I’ve said no to all proposals.

I’ve become very spiritual. I started tahajjud, reading Qur’an, and making duas. I make istighfar a lot. Sometimes my heart just says he is the one. I don’t know when we will get married. Is there any dua by which we can get married fast?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Being Ready For Marriage

Dear sister, please know that when a good man wants to marry you, he will ask for your hand in marriage, and do everything it takes to make that happen.

It sounds like you are in love with this young man, but he is not reciprocating your affections. You describe him as liking you. If he has not mentioned wanting to marry you, then my advice to you is this: ask him, if he is keen to marry you, and how long that will take.

Supplication To Marry

You may recite the following supplications for a spouse anytime:

رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَاماً

“Our Lord! Grant unto us spouses and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous.” (Sura al-Furqan 25:74)

رَبِّ إِنِّي لِمَا أَنزَلْتَ إِلَيَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقِيرٌ

“My lord, I am in absolute need of the good You send me.” (Sura al-Qasas 28:24)

Source: Should I Rely on Allah to Send Me My Marriage Partner?

Current Focus

When you are young and unmarried, it is natural to want to seek out companionship. Allah created us to long for connection and heartfelt relationships. And when you are in love, hearts and eyes become blinded.

You are your own woman. You do not need a man to inspire you to greater heights of worship. Choose to do so, willingly, because you are responsible for your own soul. A loving husband can be a precious and beloved helpmate to Allah, but do not give your heart away to anyone until he is married to you.

Self-worth

Trials of attachment are painful indeed. Longing to marry someone who does not want to marry you back is very heartbreaking. Dear sister, you are beloved to Allah. He honors you with Islam. Please do not waste your time on a man who does not value you enough to marry you. And from this heartbreak, I urge you to choose your husband wisely.

Prepare for marriage by studying and reading about it – love and attraction are insufficient to sustain a successful Islamic marriage. Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages is an excellent starting point.

I pray that Allah guides you to what will benefit you most in this life as well as the next.

Please see: Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered.

Wassalam,

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


How Can I Stay Positive and Trust in Allah in Difficult Times? (Video)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How can I stay positive and trust in Allah in difficult times?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

Photo: Hai Thinh

Should I Move on from Marrying a Girl My Family Does Not Approve on, or Do I Keep Hoping in Allah?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I was in a relationship with a girl for a few years. I taught her more about Islam and made her religious.

Recently, I told my parents about her. But they are not at all satisfied with her.

I believe that Allah will help me and reply to my prayer but I have not seen any change in my parents’ attitude. Should I move on?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah grant you a clear answer and contentment with His Decree.

Istikhara

Please perform the Prayer of Guidance up to seven times to help you decide. The answer does not need to come in the form of a dream; look at how events unfold. If your family is still resistant to the idea of you marrying her, then this is a negative. If your family’s attitude shifts into one of openness and acceptance, then this is a positive.

Allah will absolutely respond to your prayer. Just remember that His answer might not be the one you want.

Timeline

Give yourself a realistic timeline. If your istikhara is negative after seven times, then as hard as it may be, please let go and move on. Perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to heal your heartbreak and send you a righteous wife.

It might be unimaginable for you to envisage marrying anyone else, but as so many people can attest to, we are all built to survive heartbreak. Learn the lessons behind this experience – ‘accidentally’ falling in love with someone can lead to serious repercussions. Speak to your family about what kind of wife they want for you. Be open to their suggestions. Be patient with Allah’s Decree.

Reality

The Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “A woman is married for four things: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty or for her piety. Select the pious, may you be blessed!”. [Bukhari and Muslim]

In addition to marrying a woman for her deen, remember that marriage is about two families coming together. From what you have described, it sounds like your parents feel that she is not a suitable match for you for various reasons. When you are in love, these differences do not matter. You may feel that love can conquer all.

In reality, a successful marriage takes so much more than love. The stresses of new marriage can cause it to crumble, especially without the support of your family. However, if your istikhara is positive, then Allah can grant you ease and success in your marriage, despite your family’s disapproval. Ultimately, you are the one who is getting married.

Education

When registration reopens, please complete this course, Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. Please learn what an successful Islamic marriage is before you get married. This will inshaAllah help guide you to make a wiser decision.

May Allah make things easier for you, facilitate what is best for you, and grant you the blessing of a loving and righteous spouse.

Please refer to the following links:

What to Do When My Parents Reject My Choice of Spouse Because of Cultural Reasons?
When Love is Not Enough: Reassessing Marriage in the Muslim Community – Mental Health 4 Muslims Blog

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How to not be Overwhelmed by my Fear of Unemployment?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: I can’t help it but think of long-term unemployment after graduating. Perhaps my degrees won’t be convincing to future employers. Yes, I network, I do internships…but right now I am just overthinking it all the time.
Please help me put my mind at ease and rely on Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala. I do not want to be unemployed.
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
Take all reasonably possible means to secure future employment, yet whilst remembering that it is Allah who provides.
And that entails that you supplicate for a lawful income, and a means by which you can worship Allah. Pray the Prayer of Need (salat al-hajah) and work on becoming a better Muslim. The people of taqwa are always given a way out. [How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?]
See: The Meaning of Rizq (Provision) When Used in the Qur’an and Sunnah and: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Please see also: What Does it Mean to Have “Beautiful Restraint and Balance” in one’s Work, Career, and in Seeking one’s Provision? and: The Muslim Standard of Excellence in Work and Life – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Trust in Allah and Provisions for Seekers of Knowledge

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalamu alaykum
(1) Has Allah promised that if a person busies himself with seeking and teaching sacred knowledge and worship, He will provide for him and those dependent on him without them having to look for provision, neither by asking to people nor by finding a job (since the job would divert their efforts from learning)?
(2) In alternative, would finding someone to sponsor our studies be considered disliked or against tawakkul?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
(1) No, it is obligatory for you to support your family. Find a lawful source of income and study hard on the side, filling your life with blessing and sincerity, and insha’Allah you’ll see the benefit. Knowledge, too, is sustenance, and Allah gives to whomsoever He wishes.
(2) Trust in Allah is for one’s heart to be at rest and confident with the Divine Promise. [see: Saving for Retirement & Trust in Allah] The sunna is to take the means whilst relying upon Allah, and not upon the means themselves. And as such, there would be nothing wrong in seeking a scholarship in order to fulfil your goals.
Please see also: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and consider taking: Faith in Divine Unity & Trust in Divine Providence
And Allah alone gives success.
wassalam,
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Divine Decree, Contentment, and Lessons From the Prophet’s Life

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I was interested in a brother for a while but it never worked out. Now this brother is getting married. I know this is ultimately for the best but it’s been very difficult for my heart to accept. I feel envious of the sister he is marrying and keep wishing it were me that was chosen. Is there some dua/adhkar that can help with this? I feel very depressed about my inner state and my reaction to this situation, knowing that Allah is the best of planners. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

May Allah reward you for your patience throughout this trial and raise your rank in both this world and the next. I understand the pain you must be going through; this is by no means an easy situation. Having said that, such situations are in reality immense spiritual opportunities by which we can display our true sincerity and trust in Allah Most High.

The Divine Decree

One of the central tenets of our faith is belief in the Divine Decree, as established in many Qur’anic verses and prophetic hadiths. Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) would often stress the importance of conviction in the Divine Decree, both its good and its evil, and according to some narrations, both its sweet and its bitter [Sahih Ibn Hibban].

The nature of this life is tribulation, which can be sweet when testing our gratitude or bitter when testing our patience. Life is not meant to be Paradise, and our outlook therefore is always meant to be directed ahead. “Our abode is in front of us, and our life comes after our death,” said Ibrahim ibn Adham. Even the Messenger himself (peace and blessings be upon him) used to say, “O Allah, there is no life except the life of the hereafter” [Bukhari]. Why is there no life except that of the hereafter? Because true life is one without stress and without the bitter blows of fate, which exists only in Paradise. This life, then, must for sure be bitter at times.

Furthermore, the tests of this life are absolute and fixed, as they were decreed preeternally by Allah Most High. As Imam Tahawi states in his treatise on Islamic creed:

We affirm the existence of the Preserved Tablet, the Pen, and all that has been inscribed in it. If all of creation were to unite in order to eliminate something whose existence had been inscribed in the Tablet based on Allāh’s decree, they would not be able to prevent its existence. Likewise if they were to unite altogether in order to bring into existence that which was inscribed in the Tablet to not exist, they would prove incapable. The [ink of the] Pen has dried with regard to the existence of all that shall exist until the Day of Arising.

Our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) highlighted this tenet when he said, “Know that what does not afflict you could never have afflicted you; and what afflicts you would never have missed you.” He then followed the statement with the remedy for afflictions, “And realize that victory is with patience, relief is with stress, and indeed with difficulty comes ease.” [Nawawi’s 40 Hadith]

Contentment

Once the believer realizes that he/she has no control or power over the blows of fate, his/her only recourse is to submit to the Divine Decree and strive to actualize a state of total contentment. This is the very essence of our religion, itself named Islam or “submission.” From the Prophetic supplications in this regard is the statement, “I am pleased with Allah as my Lord, with Islam as my religion, and with Muhammad as my Prophet” (peace and blessings be upon him). Our Prophet guaranteed that whoever says this is promised Paradise [Abu Dawud].

رَضِيْتُ بِاللهِ رَبّاً وَبِالإِسْلامِ دِيْناً وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَسُوْلاً

One of the most potent means by which one can realize true contentment is sincere supplication (du`a). It is narrated that Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say, “O Allah, make me content with what you have provided me, send blessings for me therein, and replace for me every absent thing with something good/better” [Bukhari/Adab al-Mufrad].

اللّهُمَّ قَنِّعْنِيْ بِمَا رَزَقْتَنِيْ ، وَبَارِكْ لِيْ فِيْهِ ، وَاخْلُفْ عَلَى كُلِّ غَائِبَةٍ بِخَيْرٍ

If one holds fast to sincere supplication for something, one should rejoice since the supplication itself is one of the strongest indicators that Allah Most High wants to give that person that thing. One’s asking for contentment is a sign that Allah wants to bestow contentment on that person.

Also, even from a purely worldly perspective, contentment is the greatest remedy for stress, as it is entails an enormous relief. For this reason, our Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Hold fast to contentment, for indeed it is wealth that never ends” [Tabarani/Awsat]. People under stress will pay enormous amounts of money to alleviate their pain, whether through pharmaceutical drugs, psychiatric therapy or the like, yet a believer that is content with Allah’s decree finds a greater relief without spending anything – a treasure indeed.

Contentment, then, is the source of true enrichment and honor; it is the way of relaxation and relief in a world designed to disappoint us, so that our true repose is only with the Creator of that world. Contentment is a trait of those who are truly intelligent and chivalrous; it transforms the bitter blows of fate into breezes of Paradise. It is indeed, as one early Imam put it, “a king that resides not except in the heart of a believer.” [Risala Qushayriyya]

From an otherworldly perspective, the fruits of contentment are of course much greater. We cannot fathom the reward that awaits a person of contentment in the next life; it is sufficient for us to know that if we are pleased with Allah, then Allah will be pleased with us.

Divine Wisdom and Good Opinion

Also, one should always remember that nothing exists except that it reflects Allah’s infinite wisdom, for He has called Himself “The All-Wise” (Al-Hakim). There is always the big picture, a larger context that we are unable to perceive with our short-sightedness. Allah Most High is fully aware of how things unfold in the long run, and we must place our trust in Him, fully realizing that there is wisdom in His decisions.

In this regard, our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) advised us to maintain a good opinion of our Lord, for He Most High states, “I am in the opinion of My servant” [Bukhari]. If we are convinced that Allah is looking out for our best interests when He decrees painful situations, and that He will replace what is lost with something much better for us in both this life and the next, then that is exactly how we will find Him, without a doubt.

A Reflection on the Year of Sadness

On a closing note, one can reflect on the Year of Sadness (`Aam al-Huzn) in the life of our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and find many lessons therein to help one in one’s own trials. I would just like to mention one aspect that will insha’Allah be a comfort for us in our times of difficulty.

This year was the most difficult year in the Prophet’s life (peace and blessings be upon him); in it, he lost his beloved wife Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) and his beloved uncle Abu Talib, and he was rejected by the people of Ta’if and violently driven out of their town, all the while being stoned by their children. Yet despite these severe trials, he turned to his Lord and sought only His good pleasure. The very next major event in his life was the blessed Night Journey and Heavenly Ascent (al-isra’ wal-mi`raj), arguably the greatest spiritual experience he had in his blessed life (peace and blessings be upon him). One can appreciate, then, that if we patiently endure our difficulties with contentment in the Divine and seeking His good pleasure, then He will replace those difficulties with our own spiritual “ascents.” This is the secret of tribulation – in it lies the greatest of opportunities for proximity to the Divine, insha’Allah.

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam

Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Dealing with Death: Inward & Outward Manners

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: My grandmother is about to die, it seems. How does one deal with death? What can I do for her?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

Inwardly:

1. Patience,

2. Submission to the Divine Will,

3. Reflection on the fleetingness of live,

4. Taking admonition for one’s own situation.

Shaddad ibn Aws reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The intelligent is one who controls his lower self and works for that which comes after death. The stupid is one who follows his caprice and vainly hopes that his desires will be fulfilled by Allah.” [al-Tirmidhi, Sunan]

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Race to good deeds! What do you await but delayed poverty, overbearing wealth, debilitating illness, senility, unexpected death or the Dajjal? Or are you waiting for unseen evil, or the Final Hour? And the Final Hour will be bitter indeed and terrible.” [ibid]

Outwardly:

1. Making sure the dead person’s estate is correctly divided according to the Shariah AFTER all debts have been cleared.

2. If the person is expected to have missed fard fasts or prayers, their family (or friends) should make expiatory payments (fidya) to compensate for this, according to the rules of fiqh. [Can be explained upon request.]

3. Reciting a lot of Qur’an oneself (and family and friends) and donating the reward to the deceased. One may not pay Qur’an reciters for this; it would be sinful and without reward.

4. Making a lot of dua for them.

There is agreement among the 4 Sunni schools that one may donate the reward of some or all one’s actions to some or all believers, living or dead. [Ibn al-Humam, Fath al-Qadir]

Malik ibn Rabi’a al-Sa`idi said, “Once as we sat with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), a man from the Bani Salama came and asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, is there any goodness I can show my parents after they die?’ He said, ‘Yes . Praying for them, seeking forgiveness for them, fulfilling the pledges they made, keeping ties with their relatives, and honouring their friends.” [Abu Dawud, Sunan]

Finally, we should learn the manners and ways of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) and live them:

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessing & peace) said, “My entire community will enter Janna except those who refuse.”

He was asked, “O Messenger of Allah, who are those who refuse?

He said, “Those who obey me will enter the Garden and those who disobey me refuse.” [al-Bukhari, Sahih]

Wassalam
Faraz Rabbani

Saving for Retirement & Trust in Allah

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: In many countries, people save up money for retirement. I know there is nothing wrong with this but isn’t this sort of against the concept of tawakkul that one fears for his future and saves up money each year so he may have a “secure” life? I know that one has to take the means but to save up lots of money to have a steady salary after retirement doesn’t seem to me the best option. Please advise.

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Saving up for retirement and other future contingencies is from the taking of means–and is not contrary to trust in Allah (tawakkul). Trust in Allah is for one’s heart to be at rest and confident with the Divine Promise. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) himself would store food for his wives, as protection against future shortcomings.

And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz Rabbani