TagProphet Muhammad

James Webb Telescope and the Importance of Reflection

In his book, Al-Fawa’id, paraphrasing the great Imam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله invites the reader to know Allaah عز و جل in two ways,

1. To observe the creation and ponder upon it.

2. To contemplate on the ayahs of Allaah عز و جل mentioned in the Qur’an.

If we were to sincerely acknowledge the above two points and implement them in our lives then there is no doubt that we will recognize Allaah عز و جل, and will strive to make our lives better in this world and the Hereafter by implementing the correct belief in Allaah عز و جل and His Messenger, the obligations in the religion of Islaam and by performing voluntary acts of worship because of the ‘ihsaan’ we develop in ourselves by Allaah’s عز و جل permission (i.e., as per the hadeeth of Jibreel: That you worship Allaah عز و جل as if you are seeing Him, for though you don’t see Him, He, verily, sees you.).

One of the amazing signs that we can reflect upon is the creation of the heavenly bodies and the space which exists out of the atmosphere of the earth. We have read a lot about the sun, the moon, and the planets but let us today see what some extraordinary technology has brought for us from the voids of darkness beyond the earth’s atmosphere.

Growing up, with our eyes we witness the sunrise and sunset, we see the beautiful full night moon and the amazing sight of the stars on clear summer nights but there are also things which are not visible to the naked eye (at least under the city lights). One example I would like to present from my amateur astrophotography is the ‘Orion Nebula’.

1 The Orion Nebula captured by the author in suburban Melbourne, Australia. A wiki page on what are nebulas: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebula  

This beautiful creation of a hot gaseous interstellar cloud is up there in the sky and is a constant reminder for me that such beautiful objects exist and many more like it which are not easily seen with our eyes. The revolution in scientific instrumentation in telescopes and other technologies has enabled us to discover many more objects similar to it in space. We are so advanced right now that we can capture some (stacked) pictures of such nebulae or galaxies using ground-based telescopes with cameras in our house backyards but bear in mind it is an expensive hobby and is much feasible if we live far away from the city!

One such technological advancement on a massive scale was way back in 1990, the launch of the revolutionary Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble captured and produced some amazing pictures of nebulae and galaxies over the decades. One such amazing capture is that of the “Eagle Nebula” or specifically known as the “Pillars of Creation” within the Eagle Nebula.

C:\Users\mohammed.sarfarazudd\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\hubble_birthofstars_0.jpg

2 The Eagle Nebula. Source: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/messier-16-the-eagle-nebula 

We can see how in this picture above how awe aspiring is the creation of Allaah عز و جل, such magnificent clouds are of the size beyond our imagination, the elements it is made up of are the source of light which makes it so beautiful. No doubt, this one image itself is a masterpiece.

Recently, in the year 2021, the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope was commissioned on the 24th of December. This is a breakthrough in space telescopes because this space telescope is Hubble 2.0, and that means it is a successor to the Hubble Telescope.

3 James Webb Space Telescope. Source: https://engt.co/31l2anI 

 See JWST in 3D here: https://bit.ly/3HxG94x  

The exciting thing about JWST is it will help us answer questions like, What lies deep within the space? What is out there yet to be discovered? How can it help solve a few theories about the Universe? These are some questions we can anticipate an answer for from JWST, in shaa Allaah. No doubt, this is exciting stuff we are looking forward to. But as we wait for the next scientific breakthroughs we need a reminder for ourselves to remain grounded in our faith. We should know:

All of this is by Allaah’s عز و جل permission.

We as mankind forget that we own nothing in this universe, Allaah عز و جل has given us everything and thus we should never be arrogant in accepting the truth, and acknowledging our weakness and limitedness. The scientific community at large these days tend to get arrogant thinking that they know everything about the universe (when theories are presented as facts to the general public) but we should always keep in mind that “our eyes can only reach a distance”, i.e., we are limited and whatever we have from our amazing minds to resources that we use to make intelligent hardware and software is all from the blessings of Allaah عز و جل.

In the last couple of decades, we have seen several advancements in technology, in AI, and other inventions but this was only possible because of the amazing intellectual brains Allaah

عز و جل has given to us as mankind. The exploration of space, i.e., what lies beyond earth’s atmosphere is also by Allaah’s permission.

يَـٰمَعْشَرَ ٱلْجِنِّ وَٱلْإِنسِ إِنِ ٱسْتَطَعْتُمْ أَن تَنفُذُوا۟ مِنْ أَقْطَارِ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ فَٱنفُذُوا۟ ۚ لَا تَنفُذُونَ إِلَّا بِسُلْطَـٰنٍ

“O assembly of jinn and men! If you have power to pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, then pass beyond (them)! But you will never be able to pass them, except with authority (from Allâh)!” (Qur’an 55:33)

Thus, in the conclusion of this reminder, a believer in Islaam should not doubt that whatever happens in this universe is by the permission of Allaah عز و جل.

Don’t fall for the bait.

Some people from the scientific community who fail to recognize their Creator because they fall short on sincerely pondering upon the creation and the purpose of life often come up with scientific terms or sentences to create confusion from their articles, videos or any other form of media to those who believe in their Creator. To cite a few examples, “JWST will reveal the origin of the Universe”, “JWST will confirm if the Universe is 14 billion years old” or any other such catchy headlines aimed at the common masses as click baits and possibly to spread scientific theories (presented as facts!). For example, the scientists state that the universe is around 14 billion years old and they have come up with this number using something known as the “Hubble constant” in Cosmology. This constant has been adjusted over the decades so much so that this constant now encapsulates (the time required for) the Darwinism evolution that we as mankind evolved over millions of years from micro-organisms. So yes, science today especially in the field of Cosmology and Theoretical Physics heavily involve theories rather than observation and testable evidence (and is rapidly also getting Philosophy involved with a concept like a multiverse and this can be seen in the latest studies of Quantum Mechanics).

The bottom line here is, as much exciting and promising the project of JWST is, we should remember not to go overboard with regards to believing and promoting everything the scientists or the media say about it.

We should reflect.

How many aayaat in the Qur’an invite us to reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth and yet many of us are so busy with this materialistic life that we do not pause to reflect as this is one of the most important activities in our lives which pushes us to sincerely turn towards our Creator. To cite a few aayaat from Surah Aal-Imran,

إِنَّ فِى خَلْقِ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَٱخْتِلَـٰفِ ٱلَّيْلِ وَٱلنَّهَارِ لَـَٔايَـٰتٍ لِّأُو۟لِى ٱلْأَلْبَـٰبِ

“Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding.” (Qur’an 3:190)

ٱلَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ ٱللَّهَ قِيَـٰمًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِى خَلْقِ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَـٰذَا بَـٰطِلًا سُبْحَـٰنَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ

“Those who remember Allâh (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): “Our Lord!

You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted are You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire.” (Qur’an 3:191)

Even with the launch of JWST and the anticipation of what lies deep into the space, the revelation of it will be by Allaah’s عز و جل permission alone, it sure will bring excitement to mankind for a few days and then we usually forget about it just because this is (the mentality of mankind) going on since the beginning of our creation. We see amazing aayaat like the glorious sunrise and sunset, the magnificent mountains, the beautiful birds and flowers…, these are only to name a few from the creation and we do not reflect upon them as we have taken them for granted and just as a part of the system. As believers, one must spend ample time reflecting upon the heavens and the earth and it is a key to a huge success as it will help us recognize our Lord through His Lordship (Tawheed Ar-Ruboobiyah), it will make us strive to worship Him alone without associating any partners to Him (Tawheed Al-‘Ibaadah), and it will make us know our Lord through His beautiful Names and Attributes (Tawheed Al-Asmaa ul Husna).

Concluding, to reflect, ponder, contemplate, whatever you call it, will facilitate us to bring about love, hope, and fear of our Lord and will bring us near to Him by His permission. May Allaah عز و جل facilitate us to ponder upon His creation and upon His Glorious book, Al-Qur’an.

A Muslims Reflection on Hawking and the Likes…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

As a student of Astrophysics, I have always found myself plunging into studying the cosmos. Lately I have also started reading about particle physics. In short I can describe my experience as breath-taking! I am stunned by the creation of Almighty.

At the same time, I always wonder, why the likes of smart people, highly intelligent, like Hawking (Theorotical Physicist – highly known for his work on Black Holes and Hawking Radiation, who died today), Ed Witten (proposer of M-theory) etc. did/do not receive guidance to believe in a Superme Creator..

image

(Hawking has produced some amazing research on Black Holes. Hawking Radiation describes the process on how a black hole slowly evaporates and loses its existence)

I found my answer in the Nobel Qur’an, where Allaah عز وجل says,

وَعَادًا وَثَمُودَ وَقَدْ تَبَيَّنَ لَكُمْ مِنْ مَسَاكِنِهِمْ ۖ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فَصَدَّهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ وَكَانُوا مُسْتَبْصِرِينَ

“And ‘Ad and Thamud (people)! And indeed (their destruction) is clearly apparent to you from their (ruined) dwellings. Shaitan (Satan) made their deeds fair-seeming to them, and turned them away from the (Right) Path, though they were intelligent.”

-Sura Al-Ankabut, Ayah 38

For anyone who knows the history of the people of ‘Ad and Thamud, it becomes apparent that they were highly intelligent, strongly built, carved homes in sand hills – a feat which requires planned engineering (refer Tasfir ibn Kathir). This becomes explicit in the ayah,

أَوَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَيَنْظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ كَانُوا أَشَدَّ مِنْهُمْ قُوَّةً وَأَثَارُوا الْأَرْضَ وَعَمَرُوهَا أَكْثَرَ مِمَّا عَمَرُوهَا وَجَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ ۖ فَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَظْلِمَهُمْ وَلَٰكِنْ كَانُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ

“Do they not travel in the land, and see what was the end of those before them? They were superior to them in strength, and they tilled the earth and populated it in greater numbers than these (pagans) have done, and there came to them their Messengers with clear proofs. Surely, Allah wronged them not, but they used to wrong themselves.”

-Sura Ar-Rum, Ayah 9

Going back the former ayah in Surah al-Ankabut, Allaah عز وجل uses the word مُسْتَبْصِرِينَ to describe the people of ‘Ad and Thamud – that means they were given baseerah – they were a people with deep insights. That’s why, Dr. Muhsin Khan and Taqi ud Deen al-Hilali (May Allaah have mercy upon both of them) interpreted the word مُسْتَبْصِرِينَ as ‘they (people of ‘Ad and Thamud) were intelligent’.

So it becomes explicit now, people with high intelligence doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be guided. Why aren’t they guided then?

Dr. Muhsin Khan and Taqi ud Deen al-Hilali mentioned the five reasons why people fall into major disbelief in the appendix of their interpretation of the Noble Qur’an,

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(To understand what a true Muslim believes and what are the six articles of faith, please download the concise thirteen page book here – Belief of a Muslim)

So basically, it is one of the reasons above, the well known scientists today persist in their disbelief and hence lack guidance towards the ultimate truth.

I’d like to conclude this article by including another ayah from the Noble Qur’an and سبحان الله , this from Surah al-Ankabut again,

Allaah عز وجل says,

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allah’s Religion – Islamic Monotheism). And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinun (good doers).”

-Sura Al-Ankabut, Ayah 69

May Allaah عز وجل guide all those who sincerely strive to seek the truth.

– Compiled by Sarfarāz ibn Shuja

 

PicsArt_03-19-12.46.56

First Ask Why

Professor Hefley sat on the empty table across John Doe and with a  cheerful smile on his face asked him, 
“So why did you come late to class John?”
John was caught completely by surprise and in a shy voice muttered the words,
“I missed the early bus”, 
hoping that the rest of the class wouldn’t hear. But of course, they did. Professor Hefley’s smile widened and then he asked John, 
“Why did you miss the bus?”
John quickly answered, 
“I couldn’t make it to the bus stop on time”.
“Why couldn’t you make it on time?”.
John took a moment to recall and then replied, 
“I was speaking to someone on the phone.”
Professor Hefley didn’t stop there, he asked, 
“Why were you speaking on the phone?” 
John was having fun at this point, and once again resorted to the mode of thinking. 
“There was this package that I was expecting from India that did not arrive on time. I needed to make an inquiry.”
The professor theatrically exclaimed, 
“Aha! That is the problem you see!”
The professor pointed out to John that the phone call wasn’t made on the right time and also that his package not arriving on schedule was a reason for John to come late to class.

This episode took place in a Project Management class where the subject of the day was Project Quality Management. Specifically, what do when there is a problem in quality. And this is how Clinical Professor Hefley would teach us, by giving us real-time, understandable examples of the subject matter he was presenting at hand, with a touch of humor. He would use the environment around him and spontaneously come up with remarkable examples to explain complex concepts. He once had to explain this concept of  object ‘encapsulation’ in software development during object oriented analysis in the problem domain, which was for information hiding that enforces protection of what goes on inside an object from the outside world  to ensure no one can change the way the software operates without permission and they just have to trust it works. To explain this jibberish, he grabbed a glass of water that just happened to be in front of him and took a big gulp. And then he asked the class while rubbing his tummy,
“Do you know whats going on inside?”
The class replied, “No!”
“But do you trust it?”, he asked with a grin.
And the class all nodded their head in approval of the point they had got.
And then there was this other instance where he had to explain the messaging that takes place between objects in an information system and that a return value is a reply that a message may invoke from the receiving object after an operation has been complete. To explain this, he just shouted “Marco!” and someone from the back of the class who knew the game shouted back “Polo!”. The concept was seared into the mind from that moment onwards.

This man was very talented as a teacher and I would always be at the edge of my seat in his class while he passionately delivered his genius on the subject until he would start to lose his breath. No wonder he has accomplished so much in his profession from being a Project Manager and System Developer in top class MNC’s; researcher and Ph.D holder in Computers, Organizations and Society; Professor, adviser and Program Director at Carnegie Mellon University and now a prestigious clinical professor at University of Texas at Dallas, the place where I happened to study under him.

Back to the John Doe incident in the Project Quality Management class. The professor was giving everyone a live example of a technique called the ‘5 Whys Technique’. This is a technique that is used when there’s a complaint for a quality problem in a project.This technique helps us to do two things:

  1. Trace complaints about quality problems back the responsible production operations, back to where the cause of problem might have erupted from.
  2. Take a corrective action to resolve the cause of the problem.

In simple words, the technique helps you to find the root cause of a problem and then solve it.

So John Doe’s case can be summarized as follows:

The Problem:
John Doe came late to class
The Cause:
Made an inquiry call about package delivery at the wrong time
Corrective action:
Adjust time for making calls

Let’s say after further questioning we discover that the cause to John Does problem is not the call that he made. After asking him ‘Why’ he called at a time like that, he tells us that he had planned to make that call earlier but because he got into the washroom late, he ended up delaying the call. In this case, we notice that the cause of the problem has changed. And so subsequently the corrective action needs to change!:

The Problem:
John Doe came late to class
The Cause:
Got into the bathroom late
Corrective action:
Adjust time for bathroom use

And another ‘Why?’ question reveals to us that he got into the bathroom late because his alarm clock didn’t go off, which would yet again change the corrective action to take against the cause:

The Problem:
John Doe came late to class
The Cause:
Got up late because Alarm didn’t go off
Corrective action:
Check Alarm clock batteries

And with these discoveries we can draw what’s called a ‘Cause-and-Effect’ diagram, or a ‘Fishbone’ or ‘Ishikawa Diagram’. The problem or effect is placed at the ‘fish head’. The causes of the effect are then laid out along the ‘bones’. This diagram helps us easily present the entire case to simplify the analysis.

blank-diagram-page-1-2

This is a very basic example of the profound use this technique has to offer. We notice that the problem remains the same, but a proper approach to problem solving helps us discover so many corrective measures to take that would help us best solve the case, because here we have to understand one very important principle that Professor Hefley taught us:

We have to correct the Cause, not the Problem

We see that upon asking a simple ‘Why’ to the individual we learn more about the problem. We discover new pathways that could potentially help us to arrive at the root cause of the problem.
By spending some time analyzing the problem and by introducing the ‘Cause‘ variable to the scenario, we can take a more appropriate and closer to accurate stance of implementing the corrective action against the Cause, and not the Problem itself. Thereby making our problems practicably solvable for a long term because we plug the cause of the problem forever.  What if we hadn’t introduced the variable of the ‘Cause’ in our measures to solve the problem? We would probably have ended up with:

The Problem:
John Doe came late to class
Corrective action:
Warn John to catch the bus on time

or

The Problem:
John Doe came late to class
Corrective action:
Scold John

or

The Problem:
John Doe came late to class
Corrective action:
Tell John that he is lazy

or

The Problem:
John Doe came late to class
Corrective action:
Punish John by commanding him to go clean the class room white board

We see that none of the corrective actions discussed above have any guarantee of solving the problem. We don’t even know whether they address the thing that lead to the Problem. It’s like throwing the dart in the air without knowing where the center of the dartboard is. Or like giving a patient a remedy without knowing what the source of the disease is! You will only score the maximum points if you know the correct way of throwing (corrective action) and hit the dartboard (the Problem) at the bullseye (‘the Cause’). And you will only have a chance of curing a cancer patient if you kill the source of the cancer cells, the Cause of the cancer cells.

Such blind problem solving skills often result in the wrong outcome such as:

  • Not being able to solve the problem at all
  • Making the problem worse because of taking the wrong corrective action
  • Offending the doer of the mistake by alleging a charge against him that he did not commit.

Taking the corrective action to ‘Warn John to catch the bus on time’ (above) is almost an indirect allegation that he deliberately missed the bus, let alone the wrong corrective action.

The ‘5 Whys Technique’ was introduced by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of the 12 billion dollar ‘Toyota Industries’ and father of Kiichiro Toyoda who found the gigantic 30 Trillion dollar company called the ‘Toyota Motor Corporation’. The technique was used within the Toyota Motor Corporation during the evolution of its manufacturing methodologies. Since then it has been fine-tuned within the Toyota Motor Corporation as a critical component of its problem-solving training.

Taiichi Ohno, the architect of the Toyota Production System in the 1950s, says in his book ‘Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production’ that the ‘5 Whys Technique’ is “the basis of Toyota’s scientific approach . . . by repeating why five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear.”[1]

The technique is now used in Six Sigma DMAIC [2], Lean Manufacturing [3] and Kaizen [4] project management methodologies.

But the technique of asking ‘Why’ in solving quality problems is not something new to the world. It existed centuries ago.

In his book ‘The Prophet’s Method for Correcting People’s Mistakes’ [5], Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid cites instances of how the Prophet Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam solved social problems that could have otherwise resulted in viscous feuds just by first asking ‘Why’. Study the following case:

An-Nisaa`i (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported from Abbaad ibn Sharhabeel RadhiAllahuAnhu (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:
“I came with my (paternal) uncles to Madeenah, and we entered one of the gardens of the city. I rubbed some of the wheat, and the owner of the garden came and took my cloak and hit me. I came to the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam – peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asking for his help. He sent for that man and they brought him to him. He (the Messenger Sallalalahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said to him,
‘What made you do that ?’ or ‘Why did you do that?’
He said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, he went into my garden and took some of my wheat and rubbed it.’
The Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said, 
‘You did not teach him if it was the matter of him not knowing, and you did not feed him if it was the matter of him being hungry.Give him back his cloak.’
And the Messenger of Allah (Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam) ordered that I should be given a wasq or half a wasq (a measure of wheat).”
[Al-Nisaa`i, al-MuLtabaa, Kitaab Aadaab al-Qudaat, Baab al-Isti’daa’; Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa`i, no. 4999]

So here is the case from the garden owners point of view:

The Problem:
Abbaad rubbed the wheat of my garden
Corrective action:
Take his clock and hit him

What did that result in? Did it solve the problem? Following were the results of that corrective action:

  • Abbaad RadhiAllahu Anhu became upset.
  • He went and made a complaint to the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam which was enough to scare the daylights out of anyone.
  • Most importantly, the problem wasn’t solved.

And when the case was brought to The Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam, what did he do? He taught the owner of the garden to properly inquire about the ‘Cause’ of the Problem first before deciding on the Corrective Action to take. So by saying:

‘You did not teach him if it was the matter of him not knowing, and you did not feed him if it was the matter of him being hungry.’

the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam taught the owner how to deal with problem by looking at the case differently after finding out about the ‘Cause’ variable:

The Problem:
Abbaad rubbed the wheat of my garden
The Cause:
Abbad says he is hungry
Corrective action:
Give him some wheat

How else do you think the Cause of the Problem could have ever been discovered except by the owner taking the step to first ask Why?
Here is another incident that Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid cites in the same book where the outcome was much better because the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam intervened with his wisdom to first ask Why:
Anas ibn Maalik RadhiAllahu Anhu reported:

“Whilst we were in the mosque with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), a Bedouin came and stood urinating in the mosque. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,
“Stop it! Stop it!”
But the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,
“Do not interrupt him; leave him alone.” (In another report by Bukhari, he said to them: “You have been sent to make things easy for people, not to make things hard.”)
So they left him until he had finished urinating…..Saheeh Muslim, no. 285
The incident continues in the following report where the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam called the Bedouin to find out the Cause by asking him:
“What made you urinate in our mosque?” or “Why did you urinate in our mosque?”
He (the Bedouin) said,
“By the One Who sent you with the truth, I thought it was just like any other place so I urinated in it.” ….Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, no. 11552, vol. 11, p.220.
The Corrective action that the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam took is reported to have been to advice the Bedouin the following:
“In these mosques it is not right to do anything like urinating or defecating; they are only for remembering Allah, praying and reading Qur`aan, or words to that effect. Then he commanded a man who was there to bring a bucket of water and throw it over the urine, and he did so.” …….Saheeh Muslim, no. 285

So here is the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam, teaching the sahabah (the companions of the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam) the importance of not jumping to correct the problem without proper evaluation. We can make the following analysis based on this case:

The Problem:
The Bedouin urinated in the mosque
The Cause:
The Bedouin thought the mosque is just like any other place where one may urinate
Corrective action:
Explain to the Bedouin what a mosque is used for

It is clear from this case that the Corrective action that the sahabah were about to use was to stop the Bedouin. But the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam had the foresightedness to solve the Problem for a long term using a different and more effective corrective action. So effective that when this incident was over, the character and wisdom of the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam had left such an impression on the Bedouin that he is reported to have said:

“He got up, may my mother and my father be sacrificed for him, he did not rebuke me or insult me. He just said, ‘We do not urinate in this mosque; it was only built for the remembrance of Allah and for prayer.’ Then he called for a bucket of water and poured it over the urine.” ….Sunan Ibn Maajah

Written by Jibran Asif Shareef

Capture

[1] https://open.buffer.com/5-whys-process/

[2] https://www.isixsigma.com/tools-templates/cause-effect/determine-root-cause-5-whys/

[3] https://hbr.org/2010/04/the-five-whys-for-startups

[4] http://www.toyota-global.com/company/toyota_traditions/quality/mar_apr_2006.html

[5] The Prophet’s Methods for Correcting People’s Mistakes

How We Love To Talk

I was walking back home from Salah and I happened to see a young child of around the age of seven standing near a shawarma stall. But there was something peculiar about him that puzzled me to the point that I stopped to observe.

This cute little guy, in all the innocence that accompanied his age and pretty well dressed so he couldn’t have been poverty stricken, was pointing at a coffee seller, one of those guys you see walking around with a jug of coffee and some cups. This little child was pointing at the cups he was carrying and then pointing towards his mouth. He did this a couple of times whilst running around the coffee seller. It made me wonder why he wasn’t just asking for coffee since I was sure he could speak, but all that came out of his mouth were sounds like ‘aaaaa –aaaa’ while he kept pointing at the cups and then towards his mouth, back and forth.

That’s when I realized he was dumb, he was severely speech impaired.

At such a young and bubbly age, at an age when people like us learn to read and spell after having learnt the English Alphabet with precision, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala did not facilitate this little guy from a blessing that we take for granted. Allah is the Most Just and He does whatever He Wills.

It made me wonder whether he will ever get his voice back again and enjoy communication that is one of the most powerful bonds between human beings. Did this child ever look into his mother’s eyes to say how much he loves her? (May Allah bless her for her patience wherever she is). I imagined the problems he might be facing at school. Will he ever be able to make dhikr of Allah and read the most blessed book on the planet that is the Quran out loud?

I was pretty sad at thoughts that kept rushing through my sensitive head but then I remembered a something that our Prophet Muhammed Sallalahu Alayhi wa sallam said.

Narrated by Sahl bin Sa’d RadhiAllahu Anhu :

Allah’s Messenger Sallalahu Alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him.”

Sahih Al Bukhari

Volume 8, Book 76, Number 481

I thought that this deprivation of his could be a means by which Allah wants to grant him paradise. This could be a mean for him to avoid the accountability we will all hold towards the use of our tongues which hold a very high place of responsibility like the Prophet (PBUH) indicated in the hadith above.

This deprivation of his could save him from all the useless speech, from all the ill talk, from all the gossip, backbiting and use of foul language that is done today without the slightest of worry. He wouldn’t have to be held accountable for any of this and perhaps it could save him form the hell fire and admit him to paradise.

But than what about us who have been given the blessing of speech? Is it really a blessing in today’s time I wonder? Will it really be helpful for us on the day when we will be held responsible for every single word that was uttered through our mouths or through our fingers on the internet or through concealed messages?

I leave you with an Aya from the Quran that we must all carefully reflect upon.

Allah says,

“On the day when their tongues, their hands, and their feet will bear witness against them as to their actions.”

[ Surat An-Nur : Verse 24 ]

And how we love to talk…..

 

Written by Jibran Asif Shareef

 

PicsArt_1467315374019

 

Solace

The heart gets weary.

The eyes are teary.

In Allah alone is the solace sought.

The madness is at peak.

The devils sneak.

With Allah alone is the refuge sought.

The world goes haywire.

It calls you a liar.

In Allah alone is the solace sought.

The evil leaps.

The truth leads.

With Allah alone is the refuge sought. 

Tranquility descends.

Mercy transcends.

In Allah alone is the solace sought.

Silence speaks.

Soul weeps.

With Allah alone is the refuge sought. 

The One and only, Allah.

– Written by Zahra bint Zaki

Solace

Social Media – What has it made us?

Let’s start this poem with a simple question
On Facebook and Twitter, what was the last thing you mentioned?

Was it someone’s marriage or your best friend’s birthday?
Or enjoyment with family at a picnic some Sunday?

Whatever the case may be, did you ever try to contemplate?
That our lives were different before these new things were made

Our lives were peaceful and joyous before signing up at social media
Feeling contented with Yahoo Messenger, Google and Wikipedia

Internet was used more for work rather than leisure
Unlike today, wherein it is used by the youth for haraam pleasure

Feeling delight in interacting with opposite gender via chatting
We often forget the fact that Allah is always watching

Be it posting a status update or changing your profile picture
Or updates of sports news where some cricketer hits a sixer

Did you ever try to comprehend upon its philosophy?
“You like mine and I’ll like yours back”, this is usually the mentality

Believe it or not, it’s just a ‘like-comment’ game
At the end of the day, it’s all about gaining fame

The more people like, the more ‘Serotonin*’ is released
Yet the greediness of this son of Aadam is difficult to cease

If you don’t agree with me, do this small exercise
Recall the last time you opened your post to check the no. of likes

I know it’s sad but it’s true about these new inventions
I think this is enough to show the level of our obsession

Now, what’s the solution to this problem talked about?
First and foremost Allah’s aid should be sought

Following that, we need to set our priorities straight
Along with learning to manage time in this case

Remember that each and every second that we are enjoying
We will be questioned about it on the Day of Reckoning

Time once gone, can never be brought back
Even though some may wish for it but it would be too late to realize that

Tick-tock tick-tock, is how the clock runs every second
Yesterday we were born, today we are here & we don’t know whether we will live till the next moment

Till when will you sleep, O slave of your maker!
Open your eyes, wake up, before it’s time to meet your Creator

– Written by Safi Ahmed

*Serotonin: Serotonin is called the happiness hormone. Serotonin regulates the mood, prevents depression and makes us feel happy.

We are living in times wherein most of the people, especially the youth are so obsessed with the usage of social media that it has become almost impossible for us now, to imagine our lives without these applications. Be it Whatsapp, Facebook or Twitter, they seem to have replaced many things in our lives today.

This poem is intended to bring awareness to this problem and help others in trying to limit its usage as much as possible.

Social media - What has it made us

Ramadhan: It is time we change to connect

Ramadhan is around the corner! And we have all waited eagerly for this blessed month. Let’s make this Ramadhan a significant life changer! Let’s make this Ramadhan a way to become better Muslims and oblige by the teachings in this beautiful religion of Islam of which we’ve been heedless of. And as a result,  become closer to Allah, the One who created us. And what better way to connect to Him than prayer?

For us to understand the value of prayers, we first need to understand the purpose of our existence, and most crucially make ourselves know about Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted), for if a person truly knows his Lord, only then will he worship Him in the way that He truly deserves.

We Muslims believe in the worship of one Lord, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) who alone has the right to be worshiped and Mohammed SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam (Peace and blessings be upon him) to be His final Messenger. There are two things that a believer should adhere to –
i)  the book of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) and
ii) the Authentic Sunnah (Actions and sayings of the Prophet Mohammed SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)).
Even the person who does not pray knows this. But what makes him/her careless about the prayer? The problem is lack of knowledge, strong conviction deep inside the heart, realization of the Akhirah (Hereafter) and most significantly love,
fear and hope of the one who created him.

Our religion Islam is built on five pillars –
i)   Shahadah (Testimony of Kalima لا اله الا الله)
ii)  SALAH (5 obligatory prayers)
iii) Zakaah,
iv) Hajj and
v)  Saum (Fasting during Ramadhan)

Among these 5, we have As-Salaat – the Fardh (obligatory prayer). To understand why these five prayers are obligatory, we need to understand why Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) has asked us to pray and  what exactly is an obligatory prayer. Of course we know the technical aspect of it that there are 5 and we have certain set of Raka’as for each Salah, but what do they mainly signify?

Salah is an act of worship. It’s the one-on-one connection of the human creation with the Creator. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says in the Noble Quran:

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me. Indeed, it is Allah who is the [continual] Provider, the firm possessor of strength.” [Quran 51:56-58]

Know that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’la is free of any need, He is self Sufficient; instead we are the ones who need Him and we are in the urgent need to worship Him because He is the one who created us, He is the one who is the controller of our lives, He is the One who is going to reward and punish us according to our worship and deeds.And we have only time to earn His reward till the moment of our death from which there is no escape.

“Death is going to reach you even if you are in the fortified towers.” [Quran 4:78]

When death is inevitable, why not ask Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala to guide us and make us die in a righteous state? Even though we have wronged ourselves all this time, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has given us a majestic blessing – a chance to repent. SubhanAllah! Repent from what you did in the past, bring a new you and sincerely prepare yourself for the hereafter which is the ultimate abode for every single one of us.

Know that this life is short lived. Everything has to perish, that’s the law, that’s the rule of the Creator, and nobody can possibly deny this. Everybody has to die and return to where they belong.  We belong to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and to only Him we shall return. Doesn’t a person realize that if he were to return to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala then he should meet Him in his righteous state?

Jabir RadhiAllahu Anhu reported:

I heard Allah’s Messenger Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam as saying, “Every servant would be raised (in the same very state) in which he dies”

(Reference: Sahih Muslim 2878 a ;In-book reference: Book 53, Hadith 101)

If you die in an act of disobedience to Allah, you will be raised once again in that very state of disobedience after your death. But if you die in an act of obedience to Allah, you will be raised in that state of obedience after your death. Which do you prefer? In which state do you want to meet Allah?

All the enthusiasm that springs up in the heart to fulfill the beautiful act of praying is driven by the awareness that we will meet Allah one day.

Worship Allah by offering Salah as though you are seeing Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and if you cannot see Him, then know that He definitely is watching you.

Jibreel Alayhis Salam asked the Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi wa sallam:

“O Allah’s Messenger, What is Ihsan (i.e. perfection or Benevolence)?” The Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam said, “Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not achieve this state of devotion, then Allah sees you.”

Narrated Abu Huraira, Sahih Al Bukhari, Book 65, Hadith 4777

How can a person not pray when he realizes that the very first question to be asked when he meets his Lord will be about Salah and everything else comes next?

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The first thing among their deeds for which the people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be prayer. Our Lord will say to His angels, although He knows best, ‘Look at My slave’s prayer, is it complete or lacking?’ If it is complete, it will be recorded as complete, but if it is lacking, He will say, ‘Look and see whether my slave did any voluntary (naafil) prayers.’ If he had done voluntary prayers, He will say, ‘Complete the obligatory prayers of My slave from his voluntary prayers.’ Then the rest of his deeds will be examined in a similar manner.”

(Narrated by Abu Dawood, 864; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 770).

If we are not praying, then surely there is something wrong with our hearts. The Heart is the leading central feature of a human which has to sincerely submit to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.

The Prophet SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam (Peace and blessings be upon him) said “Indeed there is  a piece of flesh in the body, if it is sound, the entire body is sound, and when it is corrupt, the entire body is corrupt.Truly it is the heart.”

[Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 52; In-book reference: Book 2, Hadith 45]

Belief, yes; Speech, yes; But Action, NO?  Does that do any justice to our belief?

When the heart believes in the oneness of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala; love, fear and hope are infused in the heart of the slave of Allah.[1] And when this love fear and hope of his Lord rises in the heart – this drives the slave to do something – the slave remembers Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) in his mind, his thoughts and by his speech. The body starts following the heart and bows down to Him in the act of worship of Salah!

The Prophet SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will taste the sweetness of faith: The one to whom Allah and His messenger become dearer than anything else; he loves a person and he loves him only for Allah’s sake, and he hates to revert to disbelief after Allah has saved him from it, as he hates to be thrown in fire.”

[Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 16; In-book reference: Book 2, Hadith 9]

The essence and a sense of comfort that you feel while in the state of sujood (prostration) before Allah is one of the best testimonies for the love of Allah.

The following is an amazingly beautiful prayer made by Ibrahim Alayhis Salaam that signifies the importance of prayer:

“My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication.” [Quran 14:40]

If you haven’t prayed even once in your life, don’t let the Shaitaan deceive you into thinking that Allah will never accept your repentance. The following remarkably touching Ayah of the Noble Quran gives us a lesson that the servant of Allah should not lose hope in the mercy of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted).

Say, “O my servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful. [Quran 39:53]

So repent now and return to connect with Allah 5 times a day.

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says: 

“Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing.” [Quran 29:45]

So when you are praying right, you are saving yourself from wrongdoing. This is one of the reasons why Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) has asked us to pray.

Ask Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) for forgiveness – admit, accept and confess your mistakes to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted). Cry your heart to Allah! For verily only He can understand you and He knows you more than you can possibly imagine. Pray all your pain away unto him. Remember that your heart will never find peace except in the remembrance of Allah as Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala Himself said:

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest. ”  [Quran 13:28]

You’ll only land into greater troubles if you don’t pray to Him, you’ll wander blindly in darkness, you’ll lose soberness, you’ll feel constricted when anybody does not feed your ego, your entire life revolves around walloped hopes, your life becomes superficial, you’ll create an impenetrable wall in your heart which cannot allow anything into it. Once this dangerous bug (Not having a sense of praying) gets into you, it infects everything – your heart, your soul, everything.  

And the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement. But far better is the house in the Hereafter for those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious). Will you not then understand?” [Quran 6:32]

Doesn’t a person realize that whatever he has is from his Creator and that he should thank Him?

“Then we forgave you after that so perhaps you would be grateful” [Quran 2:52]

If you turn back to Him, He will make the light shine upon you even if you are in the deepest pit hole of the nastiest sins. Look at what He tells you:

“Indeed what is to come will be better for you than what has gone by.” [Quran 93:4]

“No one besides Allah can rescue a soul from hardship.” [Quran 53:58]

You just need to turn back to Him! His mercy is endless, boundless and that which encompasses everything.

“My punishment – I afflict with it whom I will, but My mercy encompasses all things.” So I will decree it [especially] for those who fear Me and give zakah and those who believe in Our verses -” [Quran 7:156]

Narrated Abu Huraira : Allah’s Apostle SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His book which is with Him on His throne, “My MERCY overpowers my anger”

[Bukhari Book#54, Hadith #416]

Never never ever give up on the mercy of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted), He has the power over all things, He is Strong and we are weak. Nothing is difficult for Him, He just has to say it to ‘be’ and it is.

Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be!” and it is! [Quran 36:82]

So ask Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) to guide you, to make you understand the value, spiritual urgency and importance of prayer. Ask Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala to help you increase in knowledge and seek Allah’s protection from a heart that does not fear Him.

There are signs and examples right in front of us. We ask Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala to protect us from blindness. How many times have we seen that people from our family, among relatives or friends or our neighborhood, who lived with us, talked to us, who were healthy and died in front of our eyes? We saw them dead. We saw them at their death bed. We cried and moaned. We realized at that moment that it is Allah to whom we shall return. We learnt to live without them. But then what did we do? We went back to live our lives making ourselves busy with gaining the pleasures of this life while being negligent of our duties to Allah, and then again there came a reminder, a live example of one more death and then another, and another. And then we might be next. Who knows? For the certainty of our time is only and only with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted).  We certainly have no knowledge of the time of our death, and hence we have to be prepared and ready all the time by praying all the prayers on time.

The time is now to make a transformation in you, the time is right now, even while reading this, if you have missed a prayer or the time for prayer is running out, go pray! Set your priorities right.  Remember that knowledge without practice is culpable. If Salah is important for you, you will definitely make the effort to complete it, for it is in your complete capability to do so.

It is either His way or no way, remember this. He is our ultimate refuge. The more you ask Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala to help you in fulfilling your duties, the more He responds to you.

“And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.” [Quran 40:60]

This issue also comes to proper parenting; righteous parents push their children towards Salah. Realize the purpose you serve towards yourself and Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted). If you pray five times daily, take along your friend who doesn’t. Humble yourself and reconnect with the one who created you and blessed you with all the provisions in this World. It’s high time we realise and prepare ourselves for the Day when things cannot be undone. It is easy for you to say, “let’s face it on the Day of Judgement.” Seriously? Without a shadow of a doubt you will face it but will you be able to do anything about it at that time?

And once we start praying properly, our fasting will be even more enjoyable. The essence of fasting is not just being hungry; it’s about attaining righteousness and will you be able to achieve this without fulfilling this very important act of worship?

“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous -” [Quran 2:183]

It should all be only between you and Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted), fasting is only for the sake of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) and He is the only one who values it with reward, the quality of our fast is known only by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted), no one else, and Allah has ordained us to fast, to fast by not missing the obligatory prayers.

Narrated by Abu Huraira RadhiAllahu Anhu:
Allah’s Apostle Sallalahu Alayhi wa sallam said, “Allah said, ‘All the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.’(Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 128, Agreed upon)

Remember that we get unending rewards during this blessed month, even a small act of worship has its rewards multiplied by several units, [2] SubhanAllah.

Don’t miss this endless reward by making this Ramadhan just a medium to suffice your hunger and thirst at the end of the day and nothing else. While Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) is observing our fasts independently, this being a very great privilege to all of us, talk to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted), talk to him about everything, understand what Surah you are reciting in the Salah, connect with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted). And the best best feeling, sometimes is that – out of utmost humility in front of Him, you may even cry, but that is the best feeling ever, and we get this chance 5 times a day! SubhanAllah ! Don’t we want to make the most of it? Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) says,

“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [Quran 2:186]

 

The obligatory prayer in congregation is better than performed individually by 27 degrees. And in Ramadhan, rewards are multiplied, you cannot imagine how many rewards are waiting to be filled into your account!

Allah’s Messenger Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam said, “The prayer in congregation is twenty seven times superior to the prayer offered by a person alone.”

[Reference:  Sahih al-Bukhari 645; In-book reference: Book 10, Hadith 42]

Allah wants to give us, and if we on the other hand fail to offer prayers, what a sad and unfortunate predicament!

The act that makes us differ from the non- Muslims is the Salah.

Jabir bin Abdullah RadhiAllahu Anhu says: I heard the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam saying this: “The difference between a man (Muslim) and kufr is the abandoning of salaah.”

(Sahih Muslim: Kitab ul Iman: Book 001, Number 0147)

What’s gone is gone, the Past is gone forever, you are alive – Ma sha Allah, blessed are you that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) is giving you a chance to repent now and start praying. You CAN repair the damage caused, keep repenting relentlessly and Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) will shower His blessings upon you.

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) is Al-Ghafoor (The All forgiving) , He is Al-Haleem(The Most Forbearing). He does not haste to punish His servants even if He is capable of doing so.

Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahimahullah)  said in al-Nooniyyah (3278): “He is the Forbearing and does not hasten the punishment for His slave, (granting him respite) so that he may repent from his sin.”

Al-Sa’di said in his Tafseer (19):  “Al-Haleem is the One Who keeps bestowing blessings, both visible and hidden, on His creation, even though they disobey Him and make many mistakes. So He forgives and does not give the sinners the punishment they deserve; He encourages them to repent and gives them time to turn to Him.” [3]

“Allah, may He be exalted, loves those who believe, hence He makes faith dear to them. And He hates those who disbelieve and disobey Him, unless they repent. If Allah helps a person to believe and makes faith dear to his heart, and makes the believers dear to him and makes him dear to them, and he lives and dies following that, then he is one of those whom Allah loves.” – Sheikh Muhammed Saalih Al Munajjid

Allah, may He be exalted, said of the people of faith whom He loves (interpretation of the meaning):

“but Allah has endeared the Faith to you and has beautified it in your hearts, and has made disbelief, wickedness and disobedience (to Allah and His Messenger SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) hateful to you. These! They are the rightly guided ones” [Quran 49:7]

To sum it up, if a person has the characteristics of obedience to Allah and to His Messenger, then he may be one of those whom Allah loves; if a person persists in disobedience to Allah and His Messenger, then he deserves to incur the hatred and wrath of Allah. [4]

So I conclude by making the following duas for you and myself.

May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) make us realize the private consciousness and awareness of Him within us, immerse our feelings into piety, and may He guide us to understand that it’s not just about fasting of the mouth (i.e. refraining oneself from eating/drinking) but it’s about fasting of the heart, the limbs, the thoughts etc. and that fasting helps us to attain righteousness and piousness. May we continue praying regularly even after Ramadhan and for the rest of our lives.

And May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Exalted) guide us to reflect outside what we believe inwardly. Allahumma Ameen. Summa Ameen.

“My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication.” [Quran 14:40]
“O Lord. Let not our hearts deviate after you have guided us.” [Quran 3:8]

 

Written by Sidra Ali

Ramadhan_ It is time we change to connect

References:

[1] – Worshiping Allah out of love, fear and hope;

http://www.salafipublications.com/sps/sp.cfm?subsecID=IBD01&articleID=IBD010006&articlePages=1

[2] – Good deeds get multiplied in the month of Ramadhan;

https://islamqa.info/en/221733

[3] – Meaning of Al-Haleem;

http://islamqa.info/en/22210

[4] – Allah loves those who are obedient to Him;

http://islamqa.info/en/192976

 

Easy Dhikr

Right from when I was a child the size of my fathers’ legs to the man I have become today by the Grace of Allah, my father has told me, “Son, make the Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah whenever the tongue is free. Do not waste your time.” As a child, I did not have to look into the Quran and Sunnah to obey him. It was only years later that I did look into the matter of Dhikr only to find extraordinary things that blew my mind away and I hope will blow away yours too.

Very often we look for getting the most out of very little, being able to do a lot without much effort. Our own religion allows us to do that and we are unaware of it. If we spend our time, even if it were for a few seconds, in the Dhikr of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, it could help us gain unimaginable bounties as you will see below.

Ibn al-Qayyim Rahimullah (May Allah have mercy upon him) said:

“Dhikr gives a person strength so that he can do with dhikr that which he cannot do without it. I saw wonders in the strength of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah in walking, speech, courage and writing. He used to write in one day what a scribe would write in a week, or more. The troops saw his amazing strength in war.” [Al-Wabil Al-Sayyib (p. 77)]

Above all, dhikr does to the heart what no other form of action can do, it does to the heart what every man yearns for but seeks it in all the wrong places. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says:

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.”

[Surat Ar-Ra’ad 13: Ayah 28]

 

سُبْحَانَ اللّهِ وَ بِحَمْدِهِ ، سُبْحَانَ اللّهِ الْعَظِيمِ

SubhanAllahi wa Bi Hamdihi, Subhan-Allahil-Azhim

Glory and praise be to Allah, Glory be to Allah the Almighty.

  • [At- Tirmidhi].
    Arabic/English book reference : Book 16, Hadith 1439

    Jabir RadhiyAllahu Anhu (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

    The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam said, “For him who says: ‘Subhan-Allahi wa bi hamdihi’ a palm-tree will be planted in Jannah.”

  • Bukhari :: Book 9 :: Volume 93 :: Hadith 652

    Narrated by Abu Huraira RadhiyAllahu Anhu:

    The Prophet said, “(There are) two words which are dear to the Beneficent (Allah) and very light (easy) for the tongue (to say), but very heavy in weight in the balance. They are: ‘Subhan Allah wa-bi hamdihi’ and ‘Subhan Allah Al-‘Azim.”

  • Bukhari :: Book 8 :: Volume 78 :: Hadith 673

    Narrated by Abu Huraira RadhiyAllahu Anhu:

    Allah’s Apostle said, “(Following are) two words (sentences or utterances that are very easy for the tongue to say, and very heavy in the balance (of reward,) and the most beloved to the Gracious Almighty (And they are): Subhan Allah wa bi-hamdihi; Subhan Allahi-l-‘Azim,”

  • Sahih Bukhari, Volume VIII (8), Chapter 67, Hadith 414

    Narrated by Abu Huraira RadhiyAllahu Anhu:

    Allah’s Apostle (peace and blessings be upon him) said,“Whoever says, ‘Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi,’ one hundred times a day, will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.”

لا إِلَهََ إِلاَّ الله وَحْدَهُ لا شَرِيْكَ لَهُ، لَهُ المُلْكُ وَلَهُ الحَمْدُ وَهُوَعَلَى كُلِّ شَيء ٍ قَدِيْر

La ilaha illallahu wahdahu, la sharika lahu, lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu, wahuwa ‘ala kulli shai’n qadeer

There is none worthy of worship except Allah, alone, Who has no partner. For Him is the Dominion and to Him is the praise and He has power over all things.

  • Bukhari :: Book 4 :: Volume 54 :: Hadith 514

    Narrated Abu Huraira RadhiyAllahu Anhu :

    Allah’s Apostle SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said, “If one says one-hundred times in one day: “[the above]”, one will get the reward of manumitting ten slaves, and one-hundred good deeds will be written in his account, and one-hundred bad deeds will be wiped off or erased from his account, and on that day he will be protected from the morning till evening from Satan, and nobody will be superior to him except one who has done more than that which he has done.”

 

  • Sahih al-Bukhari; 7:67, Sahih Muslim; 4:2071.

    Whoever says the above ten times, will have the reward for freeing four slaves from the Children of Isma’il.

Remembering Allah after the 5 Obligatory prayers saying

سُبْحَانَ اللّهِ,الْحَمْدُللّهِ,اللّهُ اَكْبَرُ

SubhanAllah, Alhumdulillah, AllahuAkbar

Glory be to Allah, Praise be to Allah, Allah is the Most Great

  • Bukhari :: Book 1 :: Volume 12 :: Hadith 804

    Narrated Abu Huraira RadhiyAllahu Anhu:

    Some poor people came to the Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam and said, “The wealthy people will get higher grades and will have permanent enjoyment and they pray like us and fast as we do. They have more money by which they perform the Hajj, and ‘Umra; fight and ,struggle in Allah’s Cause and give in charity.” The Prophet said, “Shall I not tell you a thing upon which if you acted you would catch up with those who have surpassed you? Nobody would overtake you and you would be better than the people amongst whom you live except those who would do the same. Say “Sub-han-al-lah”, “Alhamdu-lillah” and “Allahu Akbar” thirty three times each after every (compulsory) prayer.” We differed and some of us said that we should say, “SubhanAllah” thirty three times and “Alhamdulillah” thirty three times and “Allahu Akbar” thirty four times. I went to the Prophet who said, “Say, “Subhan al-lah” and “Alhamdu lillah” and “Allahu Akbar” all together for thirty three times.”

  • Dawud :: Book 8 : Hadith 1499

    Narrated AbuHurayrah RadhiyAllahu Anhu:

    AbuDharr said: Prophet of Allah. The wealthy people have all the rewards; they pray as we pray; they fast as we fast; and they have surplus wealth which they give in charity; but we have no wealth which we may give in charity. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: AbuDharr, should I not teach you phrases by which you acquire the rank of those who excel you? No one can acquire your rank except one who acts like you. He said: Why not, Apostle of Allah? He said: Exalt Allah (say: Allah is Most Great) after each prayer thirty-three times; and praise Him (say: Praise be to Allah) thirty-three times; and glorify Him (say: Glory be to Allah) thirty-three times, and end it by saying, “There is no god but Allah alone, there is no partner, to Him belongs the Kingdom, to Him praise is due and He has power over everything”. His sins will be forgiven, even if they are like the foam of the sea.

     

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ، اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ

Allahumma Salli Ala Muhammadin Wa Ala Ali Muhammadin Kama Sallaita Ala Ibraheema Wa Ala Ali Ibraheema Innaka Hameedum Majeed.
Allahumma Barik Ala Muhammadin Wa Ala Ali Muhammadin Kama Barakta Ala Ibraheema Wa Ala Ali Ibraheema Innaka Hameedum Majeed

O Allah! Send prayer upon Mohammed and upon the family of Mohammed, as You sent prayers upon Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim.You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory. And send blessings upon Mohammed and upon the family of Mohammed, as You sent blessings upon Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory.

  • Muslim :: Book 4 : Hadith 808

    Abu Huraira RadhiyAllahu Anhu reported:

    The Messenger of Allah SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said: “He who blesses me once, Allah would bless him ten times.”

     

  • (Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood, 1795)

    It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah RadhiyAllahu Anhu that:

    The Messenger of Allaah SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said: “There is no one who sends salaams upon me, but Allaah will restore to me my soul so that I may return his salaams.”

  • Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 1282;
    Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1664

    It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

    The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah has angels who go around on earth, conveying to me the salaam of my ummah.”

     

  • Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2042;
    classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7226.

    It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

    The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not take your houses as graves and do not take my grave as a place of festivity (which you visit repeatedly). Send blessings upon me for your greeting will reach me no matter where you are.”

     

  • Dawud :: Book 3 : Hadith 1042

    Narrated Aws bin Aws RadhiyAllahu Anhu:

    The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said: Among the most excellent of your days is Friday ; on it Adam was created, on it he died, on it the last trumpet will be blown, and on it the shout will be made, so invoke more blessings on me that day, for your blessings will be submitted to me. The people asked: Apostle of Allah, how can it be that our blessings will be submitted to you while your body is decayed? He replied: Allah, the Exalted, has prohibited the earth from consuming the bodies of Prophets.

     

     

Sayyid ul Istighfaar (Best dua for seeking forgiveness)

اَللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّيْ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ، خَلَقْتَنِيْ وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ، وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ، أَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ، أَبُوْءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَيَّ، وَأَبُوْءُ بِذَنْبِيْ فَاغْفِرْ لِيْ فَإِنَّهُ لاَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوْبَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ

‘Allahumma anta Rabbi la ilaha illa anta. Khalaqtani wa ana abduka, wa ana ‘ala ahdika wa wa’dika mastata’tu, A’udhu bika min Sharri ma sana’tu. Abu’u Laka bini’matika ‘alaiya, wa Abu’u bidhanbi. Faghfirli, faa innahu la yaghfiru adhdhunuba illa anta.”

O Allah, You are my Lord, there is none worthy of worship but You. You created me and I am your slave. I keep your covenant, and my pledge to you as far as I am able. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge Your blessings upon me and I admit to my misdeeds. Forgive me for there is none who may forgive sins but You.

  • Bukhari :: Book 8 :: Volume 75 :: Hadith 318

    Narrated Shaddad bin Aus RadhiyAllahu Anhu:

    The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said “The most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah is: (The dua mentioned above).”
    The Prophet added. “If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of Paradise.”

 

أَسْتَغْفِرُاللَّهَ

Astaghfirullah

I seek the forgiveness of Allah.

  • Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 6307

    The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said: “By Allah, I seek the forgiveness of Allah and I turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times each day.”

  • Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2499; classed as hasan by al-Albaani.

    The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said “Every son of Adam sins, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.”

  • Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 6309

    The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said: “When a person repents, Allah rejoices more than one of you who found his camel after he lost it in the desert.”

  • Narrated by Muslim, no. 2759

    The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said: “Allah spreads out His Hand at night to accept the repentance of those who did wrong during the day, and He spreads out His Hand during the day to accept the repentance of those who did wrong during the night. (This will continue) until the sun rises from the west.”

  • Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6953; Muslim, 4953

    The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said: “If a person commits a sin, then says, ‘O Lord, I have committed a sin so forgive me,’ He (Allah) says, ‘My slave knows that he has a Lord Who may forgive sins or punish for it; I have forgiven My slave…”

  • Narrated by Muslim, 4936

    The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said: “If you did not commit sin, Allah would do away with you and bring people who would commit sins then ask Him to forgive them, so He would forgive them.”

  • Tafseer Al-Qurtubi (18/301-302)

    A man once came to al-Hasan al-Basri and complained to him: “The sky does not      shower us with rain.” He replied: “Seek Allah’s forgiveness (i.e. say أستغفر ألله). Then another person came to him and said, “I complain of poverty.” He replied: “Seek Allah’s forgiveness.” Then another person came to him and complained, “My wife is barren; she cannot bear children.” He replied: “Seek Allah’s forgiveness.” The people who were present, said to al-Hasan: “Everytime a person came to you complaining, you instructed them to seek Allah’s forgiveness?” Al-Hasan al-Basri said, “Have you not read the statement of Allah? –
    “Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Truly He is Oft-Forgiving. He will send rain to you in abundance; increase you in wealth and children; grant you gardens and bestow on you rivers.” [Surat Nuh: Ayahs 10-12]

  • [Summarized from Al Jumuah magazine, vol 19, issue 7]

    This story about “Istighfar” is from the life of Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal, who is considered as a renowned scholar of Islam and a famous theologian.

    During his old age, while Imam Ahmed was travelling he stopped by a town. After the prayers, he wanted to stay for the night in the masjid yard because he didn’t know anyone in the town. Owing to his humility, he hadn’t introduced himself to anyone thinking that if he did, he would be welcomed by many people.

    Failing to recognize Ahmed bin Hanbal, the caretaker of the mosque refused to let him stay in the mosque. As Imam Ahmed was quite old, the caretaker had to drag him out of the mosque. On seeing this, a baker from a nearby place felt pity for this man (Imam Ahmed) and offered to be the host to him for the night. During his stay with the baker, Imam Ahmed observed that the baker would constantly recite Istighfar (seek forgiveness from Allah). Imam Ahmed asked the baker if the constant practice of saying Istighfar had any effect on him. The baker responded by telling Imam Ahmed that Allah had accepted all of his duas (supplications), except one. When he asked him what dua was it that hadn’t been accepted, the baker replied that he had been asking Allah to provide him the privilege to meet the famous scholar Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal.

    On this, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal said that Allah had not only listened to his dua but had dragged him onto his (the baker’s) doorsteps.

  • Related by at-Tirmidhi (also by Ahmad ibn Hanbal). Its chain of authorities is sound.

    On the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), who said:

    I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “Allah the Almighty said: ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.’

 

أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ الَّذِي لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْْقَيُّومُ وَ أَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ

Astaghfirullah al-‘Adheemal-ladhi la ilaha illa Huwal-Hayyul-Qayyumu wa atubu ilaiyh

I seek the forgiveness of Allah the Mighty, Whom there is none worthy except Him, the Living, The Eternal, and I repent unto Him.

  • Abu Dawud 2/85, at-Tirmidhi 5/569, Al-Hakim who declared it authentic.
    Adh-Dhahabi agreed with him 1/511.

    Whoever says the above words, Allah will forgive him even if he deserted the army’s ranks.

 

لا حَوْلَ وَلا قُوَّةَ اِلَّا بِاللّهِ

Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah

There is no strength and no power except with Allah.

  • Sahih al-Bukhari; al-Fath al-Bari 11:213, Sahih Muslim, 2076.

    The Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam said that [the above] is a treasure from the treasures of Paradise.

 

سُبْحَانَ اللّهِ ، والْحَمْدُللّهِ ، وَ لا اِلهَ اِلَّا اللّهُ ، وَ اللّهُ اَكْبَرُ

SubhaanAllah, wal-hamdu Lillah, wa laa ilaaha illAllaah, wallaahu akbar

Glory be to Allah, praise be to Allah, there is no god except Allah, and Allah is Most Great.

  • Narrated by Muslim

    The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said: “When I say [the above],  this is more beloved to me than all that the sun rises upon.”

 

  • [At- Tirmidhi] Book 16, Hadith 1440

    Ibn Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

    The Messenger of Allah SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam said, “I met Ibrahim on the Night of Ascension (Al-Asra), and he said to me: “O Muhammad, convey my greetings to your Ummah, and tell them that Jannah has a vast plain of pure soil and sweet water. It is a plain levelled land. The plants grow there by uttering: Subhan-Allah, Al-hamdu lillah, La ilaha illallah and Allahu Akbar.”

 

 

سُبْحـانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمْـدِهِ عَدَدَ خَلْـقِه ، وَرِضـا نَفْسِـه ، وَزِنَـةَ عَـرْشِـه ، وَمِـدادَ كَلِمـاتِـه

 Subhaan Allaahi wa bi hamdihi, ‘adada khalqihi, wa ridaa nafsihi, wazinata ‘arshihi, wa midaada kalimaatihi

Glory and praise be to Allah, as much as the number of His creation, as much as pleases Him, as much as the weight of His Throne and as much as the ink of His words.

  • Muslim 4/2090

    Juwairiyah RadhiyAllahu Anhu reported that one day the Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam, peace be upon him, left her apartment in the morning as she was busy observing her dawn prayer in her place of worship. He came back in the forenoon and she was still sitting there. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said to her, “You have been in the same place since I left you?” She said, “Yes.” Thereupon the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “I recited four words three times after I left you and if these were to be weighed against what you have recited since morning these would outweigh them, and these words are: [the above].

 

  • Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:”Saying: [the above] is many times better than merely saying Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah). What the one who says ‘Subhan Allah wa bi hamdih, ‘adada khalqihi…’ achieves of knowing Allah, exalting Him and glorifying Him, when his dhikr is connected to the huge numbers mentioned, is far greater than what is achieved by the one who merely says Subhan Allah. This is called multiplied dhikr and it is greater glorification and praise than regular dhikr, hence it is better than it.”

 

path6872

Where is Allah?

This is a question that falls into the matters of ‘Aqeedah – which refers to the matters which are known from the Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah, and which the Muslim must believe in his heart, in acknowledgement of the truth of Allah and His Messenger. And because there can be no difference of opinion in the matters of ‘Aqeedah there can only be one answer to this question. And the answer is as follows:

Allah is above His Creation. To be more precise: He is above the seven heavens, above His ‘Arsh (Throne) over which our Lord rose in a manner that befits His Majesty.

Now even though it is a very simple answer that the Sahabah (the companions of the Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) and a good number of generations after the Sahabah believed in with complete conviction, there is a lot of confusion that exists amongst the Muslims with regards to it in today’s time.
Let’s make it very clear so that by the time you are finished reading this piece, there is not even a shadow of a doubt left in you about where Allah, the All Mighty and Majestic, is.

Here are the 3 views that are popular amongst the Muslims concerning where Allah is:

View number 1:  Allah is everywhere.
View number 2:  Allah is neither inside the world not outside it, neither to the right nor to the left.
View number 3:  Allah is above His Creation, above His ‘Arsh.

Now let’s compare all the views above with 4 things to see which one is correct:

1)         What the Quran and Prophetic Sunnah say.
2)         What the Scholars amongst the Salaf (our righteous predecessors) say.
3)         Common sense.
4)         Man’s innate instinct/natural inclination (Fitrah).

 
1) Let’s start with what the Quran and Prophetic Sunnah say.

The Quran describes the “exaltedness” or “highness” of Allah in different ways.

a) In terms of being high and above, Allah says in the Quran:

“… and He is the Most High, the Most Great.”

[Quran, Surat Al-Baqarah 2:255]

“Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High …”

[Quran, Surat Al-A’laa 87:1]

“And He is the Irresistible, above His slaves …”

[Quran, Surat Al-An’aam 6:18]

“They fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded.”

[Quran, Surat An-Nahl 16:50]

In the Quran there is also the affirmation that Allah is above the heavens:

Do you feel secure that He, who is above the heaven, will not cause the earth to sink?

[Quran, Surat Al-Mulk 67:16]

Indeed your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He Istawa (rose over) the Throne…

[Quran, Surat Al-A’raf 7:54]

The Most Beneficent (Allah) Istawa (rose over) the (Mighty) Throne.

[Quran, Surat Taha 20:5]

 

b) In terms of things ascending to Him, Allah says in the Quran:

To Him ascends good speech, and righteous work raises it.

[Quran, Surat Faatir 35:10]

The angels and the rooh [Jibreel] ascend to Him.

[Quran, Surat Al-Ma’aarij 70:4]

 

c) In terms of things descending from Him, Allah says in the Quran:

He [Allah] arranges [every] affair from the heavens to the earth.

[Quran, Surat As-Sajdah 32:5]

Indeed, it is We Who have sent down the dhikr [the Quran].

[Quran, Surat Al-Hijr 15:9]

 

Now let’s look into the Prophetic Sunnah:

The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam is reported to have said: “O Our Rabb! You are in the heaven, and we are on the earth…,”

[Hadeeth by Qatadah, declared hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani]

He SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam is also reported to have said: “Our Rabb is Allah Who is in the heaven…”

[Reported by Abu Daawood, Ahmad, and others]

He used to say “Subhana Rabbi al-A’ala (Glory be to my Lord Most High).”

He also used to raise his hands towards the heavens when he made du’a (supplication), as reported in many ahadeeth.

The most astounding hadeeth of all is an example of an approval of the Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam which indicates that Allah is Exalted and High. It is the hadeeth concerning the young slave girl.
Once, the Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam asked a young slave girl: “Where is Allah?” She replied: “Above the heavens.” He asked, “Who am I?” She replied, “The Messenger of Allah.” He SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam then ordered her master, “Grant her freedom, because she is a believer.”

[Reported by Imam Muslim, Abu Dawood, and others]

This young girl was uneducated, as many are, and she was a slave, but she knew that her Lord is above the heavens.

Hence according to the above, View number 3 is the truth.

 

2) Now let’s move onto what the Scholars amongst the Salaf (our righteous predecessors) say.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-’Uthaymeen, a great scholar of Islam who followed the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah, writes the following in his Tafseer (explanation) of Ayat Al-Kursi:

‘As for the ijmaa (general agreement), it is acknowledged that the salaf are in agreement that Allah is above His ‘Arsh. No one among them had ever said that He is everywhere or that He is neither above the world nor below it, or that He is neither to the right nor to the left, or that He is neither separated from the world nor associated with it.’ (End of quote.)

The word ‘Salaf’ refers to the companions of Allah’s Messenger SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam and the Imams of guidance from the first three generations of whom the Messenger of Allah SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam testified for as to their superiority when he said: “The best of mankind is my generation (the generation of the Sahabah), then those who come after them, then those who come after them.” [Reported by Imaam Ahmad in his Musnad, Al-Bukharee and Muslim]

Once again, we can confirm that View number 3 is the truth.

 

3) Now let’s move on to see this in terms of our common sense.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-’Uthaymeen writes the following in his Tafseer (explanation) of Ayat Al-Kursi about View number 2:

‘This position is absolute negation because it is a description of non-existence. Some scholars said, “If we were asked to describe ‘non-existence’ we would not find a more comprehensive definition than this description [View number 2].’ (End of quote.)

He also writes: ‘If we say that, “Allah is either above the world or under it or on its right or left,” then which of these descriptions denote perfection? The answer is, “Allah is above the world,” because if he is “under it” then He would be less perfect than the created! And if He is in the same place as the created, then Allah would be equal to him in perfection. Thus it is necessitated that Allah is above everything.’ (End of quote.)

And so it becomes even more clear why View number 3 is the truth.

 

4) Finally, let’s move on to see this in terms of our own innate instinct/natural inclination (Fitrah).

Think about it! When something troubles you, or when you want to ask Allah for something do you look in all the directions or do you look towards the heavens?

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-’Uthaymeen writes: ‘Each person naturally acknowledges the fact that Allah is above the heavens. That is why whenever a person supplicates to His Rabb (Allah) he/she takes refuge towards the direction of the sky (i.e. upward).’ (End of quote.)

He also writes: ‘The strange thing is that those who deny the Transcendence of Allah themselves raise their hands upward in the direction of the heavens when they invoke Allah.’ (End of quote.)

And so View number 3 is the absolute truth.

 

A common misconception

There is a common question that arises that if Allah is above His Creation, above His ‘Arsh, then why did Allah say, “We are closer to him than his jugular vein.” [Quran 50:16] Or why did He say in relation to when someone is on his deathbed that, “We are closer to him than you, but you do not see.” [Quran 56:85]

The answer to this is simple. When Allah says ‘We are closer to him’, He refers to His angels whose task it is to record people’s deeds. Those who said that it means that He is near explained it as meaning that He is near by His knowledge.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir in his explanation of the Quran says the following concerning the ayah ‘We are closer to him than his jugular vein’:

“It means His angels are nearer to man than his jugular vein.” And Ibn Kathir also says, “Allah did not say, ‘And I am closer to him than his jugular vein.’ Rather, He said, ‘And We are closer to him than his jugular vein.’ just as He said in the case of dying persons ‘But We are closer to him than you, but you do not see’ in reference to His angels (who take the souls).” (End of quote.)

The problem in understanding these Ayaat for most Muslims comes because they do not understand it like the way our Salaf understood it according to the teachings of Prophet Mohammed SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam. This is why it is very important that we interpret everything in our religion only according to the way it was taught to us and practiced by the Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam and not according to our own logical reasoning.

 

Where is Allah.png

 

Resources used to compile this answer:

5 Reasons Why a Muslim Should Not Celebrate Birthdays

1: The calendar system 

We are in 2016. Did the world begin 2016 years ago?  If that were true it would mean that the world started in 0001 AD. If not, then why are we in 2016?
We are in 2016 AD because we follow a calendar that was made by the religion of Christianity – currently the religion practiced by the majority of people on Earth. Now, the question is why do we need to follow the Christian calendar? Don’t we have a calendar of our own?

A Muslim knows that we have our own calendar. It’s called the Hijri calendar. And this is the calendar which we are supposed to follow. Now because of the circumstances in the world we live in today, there must be a standard calendar like the Gregorian or the Christian calendar that everyone can follow. But that should only be limited to our worldly affairs like paying rent, calculating salaries etc. We should use it keeping in mind that this is only a dharoorah (necessity) and Islam permits certain things (that are normally haram or forbidden) when there is a necessity.

So now, tell me when is your birthday? Will you now calculate your birthday according to the Christian calendar or will you see it in accordance with the Hijri calendar? Now I do not intend to mean that you start celebrating your birthday according to the Hijri date. I am just trying to begin showing you how illogical Birthdays are and outside of the concept of Islam.

2: The origin of celebrating birthdays is unknown to the majority

Now, I don’t want to waste your time elaborating this point because our friend Google can help you. There is a lot to read and watch about this out there.(1) The summary of it is that birthday celebrations – whether it be cutting cakes, lighting candles etc. have pagan origins and it is linked with false divinely beliefs that people held. Just to give you a quick example, the candles which are put on the cake have to be blown in just a single blow. If even one candle was left lighted, people used to think that the upcoming year would bring hardships for the person whose birthday is being celebrated.

Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas’ud:

The Prophet Sallalahu Alayhi wa Sallam said: Taking omens is polytheism; taking omens is polytheism. He said it three times. Every one of us has some, but Allah removes it by trust (in Him).

Grade: Saheeh (Al-Albani)
Sunan Abi Dawud 3910; 
Book 30, Hadith 7 

3: Imitation of the non-believers

If you understood the point above (which I assume you obviously did), you will be able to understand this one clearly. There are numerous ahadeeth in which the prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam prohibited imitating the non-believers. I will just mention two:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar:

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: He who copies any people is one of them.

Grade: Hasan Saheeh (Al-Albani)
Sunan Abi Dawud 4031; Book 34, Hadith 12

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam as saying:

You would tread the same path as was trodden by those before you inch by inch and step by step so much so that if they had entered into the hole of the lizard, you would follow them in this also. We said: Allah’s Messenger, do you mean Jews and Christians (by your words)” those before you”? He said: Who else (than those two religious groups)?

Sahih Muslim 2669 a; Book 47, Hadith 7

For guidelines regarding imitating the non-believers, please visit the following link:  https://islamqa.info/en/21694

4: Ok, so you want to thank Allah. Eh?

When asked about the reason for birthday celebrations, most of the people come up with this, “Akhee/Ukhti, I want to thank Allah for the life He gave me, that’s why I want to throw a party and thank Allah.” Hold on, hold on! Tell me is thanking Allah from the acts of worship or not? The answer is that it’s from the acts of worship. One must know that every act of worship has two conditions:

  1. Sincerity of doing it only for the sake of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala
  2. Following the Sunnah of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam

If condition (1) is absent, that act of worship will become Shirk (Associating partners with Allah).
I
f condition (2) is absent, it will become a Bid’ah (Innovating in the religion of Allah).

You may be celebrating for the sake of Allahs pleasure, but are you following the Sunnah? Since celebrating birthdays doesn’t meet condition (2), it becomes an innovation which will not be accepted by Allah. If you really want to thank Allah then do what the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam taught us with regards to thanking Allah and do not innovate in this beautiful religion by practicing it according to the way you think is right.

5: Life is short. Do not forget your purpose of life!

We should actually ponder and reflect on our birthdays rather than jump around with birthday snow spray.  We should see time to be passing like a countdown timer. If a person is in his twenties, he should realize that one third of his life may be over. He should ask himself with regards to the preparation he has attained to meet Allah. “Am I ready? What have I done till now for my akhirah? What if I die now? Is Allah pleased with me?” should be the questions haunting his mind. Remember this hadeeth?

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah Sallahu Alayhi wa Sallam said:

“The ages of (the people in) my nation will be between sixty and seventy, and few of them will exceed that.”

Grade: Hasan (Darussalam)
Sunan Ibn Majah; Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4326

So these were 5 reasons why a Muslim shouldn’t be involved in birthday celebrations. If you still want to persist in it, please remember the warning of Allah:

And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination.”


[Al Qur’an 4:115]

Just imagine if the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam was alive today. Would you still celebrate your birthday if you would hear the above mentioned ahadeeth from his blessed tongue (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam)?

Yeah, it’s tough to stop. Friends might start looking at you with weird expressions. Family members might think your’re becoming an extremist. But it is not impossible to stand and say that you’re going to give it up for the sake of Allah, because remember:

The Prophet SallAllahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam said:

“You will never give up a thing for the sake of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, but Allah will replace it for you with something that is better for you than it.”

 Ahmad Hadith No. 22565; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani

May Allah enable us to spend our lives in obeying Him and prevent ourselves from His disobedience. Aameen.

5 reasons why a Muslim should not celebrate brithdays

Footnotes:

(1) Click here to read about the history of birthdays.
Click here to watch a fantastic video that will tell you about the origin of birthdays.

For a scholarly response regarding the topic above, please visit: https://islamqa.info/en/1027

One of our readers asked us a brilliant question:

Good read but Reason 2 needs to be elaborated. Most people would understand what you mean to say. However, for a few that explanation wouldn’t suffice. For example, some might tell you that it is just a cake, what is so wrong about that?

We were very happy to respond to this query and you can read the answer by clicking here.