ASTAGHFIRULLAH – DHIKR

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Asalaam aleykum fellow creatures on earth,

I think I will start this post with a common scenario we have all been through at several points in our lives.

Feeling like sh@#, down, tired, confused, lost, anxious of the future and the present, sometimes the past too, regrets …

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 Let’s pause here for a second.

Yes! regrets, I know people say if you are happy with were you are now then you shouldn’t regret the things that happened before…since when?? I still get day-mares from some stupid stuff I have done in the past that send chills down my spine…but I guess most people are damaged somehow, it’s part of  becoming an adult. I think eventually we just learn to live with the regret and accept it…sort of.

Unpause:

fear, frustration, anger, you know the whole package.

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Signed, sealed, delivered.

Now my usual MO in these situations is to open that bloody package and break it down to a science to find out what is actually wrong? fix it… move on, and quarantine it in my special room labeled “Gifts from Satan”- with no freaking return address.

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But sometimes I’m too drained to even do that, I do eventually do it, but it just takes longer, I figured out a faster way to go about it recently, I’m sure most of you must have figured this out years ago, but I found out your secret now so you got nothing on me.

So in case you didn’t read the title of the post,  the fastest way to get out of these situations is istighfar, saying “astaghfirullah” continuously… and not only when the package arrives but even before it does…just every time we can remember… it’s like an antivirus. A very efficient one, with so many bonus features in one.

Here are some of the advantages that I have experienced after installing this new program to my system.

1) Humility / Humbling: Every time I say it, I think of all the wrong doings I do everyday and realize it’s a lot, it shows me I still have a long way to go.

2) Increases Tawakul: This part is mainly because, as I say Astagfirullah, I’m becoming more conscious of Allah and His attributes.

3) More Khushu in prayer: again due to being more conscious of Allah during the day it’s easier to stay focused in prayer.

4) More Calm: This is a side-effect of Tawakul, less anxious about the future, money and others

5) Peace of mind: No Muslim at any point can be asked, are you ready to meet Allah? and respond  “I am sooooo ready mannn” (Bouncing up and down, shadow boxing)… Yeah, NO. But at least if you are asking for forgiveness most of the time, you feel like you are walking around with a possibly clean slate every time you ask for forgiveness.

So this is what I have experienced so far, however there is much more promised by Allah in the Quran that will happen to you from doing something so simple as saying Astaghfirullah continuously.

And here they are:

Quran verse: HUD 11:3

“And [saying], “Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of favor his favor. But if you turn away, then indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a great Day.”

Quran Verse: Nuh 71: 10 -12

“And said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers. And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.”

Quran Verse: HUD 11: 52

“And O my people, ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in showers and increase you in strength [added] to your strength. And do not turn away, [being] criminals.”

Quran Verse: Al-Anfal : 8:33

“But Allah would not punish them while you, [O Muhammad], are among them, and Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness.”

Quran Verse: Sad: 38:35

“He said, “My Lord, forgive me and grant me a kingdom such as will not belong to anyone after me. Indeed, You are the Bestower.”

Yes, you can drop your jaw now…

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That’s all folks,

ABD

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THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY

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Asalaam Aleykum minions,

“See in this world there are two kinds of people my friend, those with loaded guns and those who dig… you dig.”

Well at least that’s how we want it to be… just two kinds of people, good or bad, right or wrong but the truth is, we aren’t like that, we all have our good sides, bad sides, ugly sides, weird sides, amazing sides and even more sides, our personalities aren’t two dimensional.

But we tend to judge people that way, either someone is good or bad. The person lied once, he is branded a liar, and that’s it, all his good is erased…granted lying isn’t a small thing and it isn’t something easy to wipe off your resume when you do it but the point here is being open to the fact that as humans we err, we make mistakes, we wouldn’t want to be judged solely by our mistakes or by our flaws so let’s not do the same to others. As a metaphor my teacher once told me that; humans tend to magnify the bad that people to do, such that if someone did a mountain of good and one rock sized bad, we wouldn’t be able to see the mountain because we put the rock right in front of our eyes.

As you might have noticed by now, we tend to classify people in our lives, strangers, family, friends… pretty quickly and efficiently from the first meet or from some action they did that stood out to us.  Whenever we meet new people we immediately start evaluating them according to where they fit in our spectrum of “understanding people”, based on what they say, how they say it, their race, their dress-code, their beliefs etc (it’s almost unconscious). Are they funny or boring? Do they think like me or not? Do they believe in what I believe or the opposite? Are they from where I am from or not? Are they educated or not? Are they smart or dull? The list goes on, and according to this we group them in the relevant category in our minds … which I would like to think goes something like this:

1) Nice to talk to

 2) Nice to listen to

3) Avoid but be polite (smile and wave boys…smile and wave)

4) Avoid at all costs

 5) Drawing blanks, Not really sure… wait for more information. (might be CIA)

I think we develop this talent at a very young age and I believe it’s necessary to some degree, because we don’t have the time to get a full psyche evaluation of everyone we meet and then make an informed decision on how to proceed with the relationship.

The problem is we hardly ever do re-evaluation and whenever we get new information about these people we are generally biased and pick only those that confirm our initial judgement and ignore the rest.

Which leads to why I am writing about this, as Muslims we know why judging others is bad, and why negative suspicion is bad

Quran verse: 49:12

” O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.”

With this in mind I think it’s every Muslim’s duty to have an open mind about others, understanding that, yes, we are different from each other but that isn’t a reason for conflict, discrimination or segregation. On the contrary it’s a reason to get closer and get to know each other more and be tolerant of one another.

Quran verse: 49:13

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”

Now with the refugee crisis going on, I find it weird that humans will argue for letting other humans die just because they are not from where they are from.  I mean…. Really??? That’s the whole argument??

I have never understood nationalistic pride, I happened to be born here (not out of choice) hence I am better than you or I stick only with “my people” who also didn’t choose to be born here.  Am I the only one finding this borderline retarded?

Jubair ibn Mut’im reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, He is not one of us who calls to tribalism. He is not one of us who fights for the sake of tribalism. He is not one of us who dies following the way of tribalism.”

And in another Hadith, also referring to nationalism, racism, and patriotism the Prophet (S.A.W) said:

“Leave it, for it is filth.”

On the societal level, the takeaway from this is to appreciate the fact that we are all humans and we are all the same, cultures differ, race, temperaments, dress-codes, beliefs but at the core of it all, we are the same…we all have emotions, sadness, anger, fear, happiness, sorrow,  we all feel hungry when we don’t have any food to eat, we all grieve when we lose a loved one, we feel pain when we are injured, and hurt when rejected and oppressed these are things we all have in common with every human being on the planet. We usually have the same worries as well about the future, our families, life, our goals, ambitions, we all want to survive for one reason or another and that is regardless of all our differences.

On the personal level the takeaway is to be more open to re-evaluating the people we know and the new people we meet, and also keep in mind that a person is not either one of two things or three (the good, the bad and the ugly) but we have multiple dimensions to our personalities. An easy way to put this in mind is to assume everyone has multiple personalities. (With usually one or two main themes that are consistent but multi-dimensional personalities is the best guess)

The only way this thought process actually stays in our minds is if we train ourselves to always look at people that way. Yes, they do wrong, but they also do right, and those that do right also do wrong, that’s just human.

Training means practice so here is an exercise for you; think about the people you already know, and try to think about the possible other good personality traits they might have, that you know or those you don’t know because you haven’t seen them in a situation that would bring it to light. Try it now, Keep away from the bad and the ugly though.

More fun exercise when you see strangers is to try to think what their possible good traits might be, despite whatever your initial judgement of them is from what you see.

Maybe they treat their parents really well, maybe they never lie, maybe they are very hygienic, maybe they are loyal friends, maybe they are very generous, maybe they always think positively about others (you see what I did there?), maybe they are empathetic, maybe they always try to be good, even when they fail, maybe they would take a bullet for their siblings. (Go radical).

My point with all this is as Muslims we should be learn to be more open and more understanding of others and by that I mean every other human apart from ourselves.

Love you all for the sake of Allah.

-Abd

I would like to add that this only applies to normal folk, those who only languish in the normal small mistakes.

This doesn’t apply to rapists, murders, oppressors and tyrants, no, those we need to kick their buckets for them, buy their farms, cash in their chips, get them to assume room temperature etc.  – (This is my personal opinion)

I might be wrong…let me know what you think. (about the whole post not just the killing oppressors part)

Day 4; 5 pictures 5 stories

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Hello soldier,

So today I am going to share a theory of mine, it has a lot to do with the picture. The picture shows a cup overflowing with water, I haven’t told you anything you don’t know so far, but what might be interesting is its relevance to our own nature; hence my theory:

My theory goes a little like this, (feel free to correct me if I am wrong), see, contrary to popular belief, our human capacity to consume is insanely small as compared to what we think it is. And whenever we gain excess of what we need, we waste it, either wholly or in-part by under utilizing it.

For example, if we are in a desert, aware about how scarce water is, and that death by dehydration is a reality that is measured in liters of water left. When time for prayer arrives the amount of water we would use to take ablution would be record low. Now come back to where we are now, where taking ablution is a mini wet and wild show in the bathroom. Let’s not even go as far as ablution, let’s look at just the simple act of brushing our teeth.

How does that work? Well legend has it that the customary ritual is to turn on the tap and let the water flow for 30 seconds while we look for the tooth brush and tooth paste, then put the tooth paste on the tooth brush and dip it in the running water at blinding speed that would make a rattle snake jealous, (we do this so it doesn’t wash away the paste). However, take a second to realize that during this whole process the actual amount of water that was needed was in that fraction of a second dip…I could go on, but you get the point.

Same applies for food, we can’t eat as much as we think we want to eat, and even when we try,  it’s wasted in one way or another. Either directly by throwing away the left overs or stored as excess fat in our bodies. This applies to everything you may think of really, be it clothing, money, space (as in living area). In a way it makes me feel relaxed knowing that what I truly need is actually quite small and very easy to fulfill. I can’t say the same for the things I want though, but who can. 🙂

Love you all for the sake Allah

– ABD

Day 3; 5 pictures 5 stories

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Salaam All,

Ok, you got me, I’m into photography, sue me… 🙂 , I don’t know, there is something about being able to capture a moment, that seems to intrigue me, it’s almost like freezing time so you can further appreciate the beauty of that particular moment in space and time, that you might have otherwise missed. Ever felt that way? Like sometimes life is moving so fast you barely have time to appreciate it or be happy about it?. It’s like, right after this right now, it’s this thing, then there is, and then that other thing and then one more thing… and then… and then…I guess we all feel that way sometimes.

For me pictures and photography is a little escape from that. At the same time it makes it easier to reflect on Allah’s creation, to think how all this beauty came about, how none of it is by mere luck or coincidence, everything has it’s purpose and work together flawlessly. Makes me further feel the word Allahukabar. Really Allah is the greatest.

That’s all for now,

Love you all for the sake of Allah

-Abd

MUSLIM.

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Asalaam Aleykum Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to begin this post by first apologizing for the long pause and reassuring you that I have no intention of abandoning this blog. (Sounds like I am reading that from a prompter) …I was experiencing some technical difficulties, to make up for the long pause there I will try to make this post a little bit longer this time, but just as interesting I hope.

So here is the story or so the story goes (Pick one);

In the beginning I thought hard and long about what the title of this post should be, for about a full ten minutes, ok, maybe 2 minutes, but it was hard and long anyway. At first it was “practicing Muslim” then “good Muslim” then “something (insert word here) Muslim” and I realized…why the discrimination?

Isn’t there a criterion already set for who a Muslim is? Hence the million dollar question was stumbled upon, which is; who is a Muslim? (yes! the million dollars is just hypothetical for those who already know the answer to that question, I didn’t get it either.)

Ok, so I’m guessing everyone knows that to become a Muslim all one has to do is say the testimony of faith which is “Ash hadu an laa ilaaha illallaah, wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan rasool-ullaah (I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah)”

But, there is a little more to that, because to be Muslims means we follow the five pillars of Islam and the six pillars of Iman(faith), which are as follows; {In order not to make this post too long I will not elaborate too much on the obvious.}

Pillars of Islam

1) Testimony of faith

2) Five daily prayer

3) The Zakat

4) Fasting in Ramadan

5) Pilgrimage (Hajj)

Ta daaaa, moving on to Pillars of faith..

Pillars of faith

1.) Belief in ALLAH: means believing firmly in His existence, Lordship and Divinity, and in His names and attributes.

2.) Belief in Allah’s Angels: This is to believe that the angels exist. No one knows their exact number except Him (Allah). He created them to worship Him.

3.) Belief in Allah’s Books: It is to believe that Allah revealed Divine Books to His Messengers in order for them to convey to mankind. These Books contained nothing but the truth at the time of revelation. All these Books called people to the Oneness of Allah, and that He is the Creator, Proprietor and Owner, and to Him belong the Beautiful Names and Attributes. Some of these Books are as follows:

  • The Torah: The Torah is the Sacred Book which was revealed to Prophet Moses .
  • The Zaboor (Psalms): The Zaboor is the Sacred Book which was revealed to Prophet David .
  • The Injeel (Gospel): The Injeel is the Sacred Book which was revealed to Prophet Jesus .
  • The Noble Quran: One must believe that the Quran is the Speech of Allah which Angel Gabriel brought to Muhammad and that it is the last of the Divine Books which abrogated all previous Books.

4.) Belief in the Messengers of Allah: It is to believe that Allah chose the finest amongst mankind to be Messengers whom He sent to His creation with specific legislations; to worship and obey Him, and to establish His religion and His Tawheed (oneness). Allah ordered His Messengers to convey the Message to people, so that they would not have any proof against Him after He sent them.

Allah says:

(And We sent not before you, [O Muhammad] except men to whom We revealed [the message] so ask the people of the message [i.e., former scriptures] if you do not know. ) (21:7)

5.) Belief in the Last Day: It is to believe that the life of this world will come to an end. Allah says:

(Everyone upon it [i.e., the earth] will perish. And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.) (55:26-27)

6.) Belief in Qada and Qadar (Predestination): It is to believe that Allah knew everything before it came into being, and what will happen to it afterwards. He then brought them into existence, all in accordance to His Knowledge and Measure.

Now one might ask, what is the lesson here?  I mean apart from a reminder of the basics, what is this reminder for in this context? And it would be a legitimate question. This all goes back to when I heard and became part of a conversation about “modern” Muslims, fundamentalist Muslims, extremist Muslims, and all other kinds of Muslims. Somewhere along the road I asked myself, who is a Muslim? And here we are.

So now addressing just a few issues, I learnt on the way here;

Number one:

 People who choose what they want in religion and discard what they don’t want, aren’t believers. (AAHHh(shock) did he just say that? Who does he think he is?) Well don’t take my word for it, here is a verse from the Quran and it says…

Surah An-Nisa 4:150 – 152

“Indeed, those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and wish to discriminate between Allah and His messengers and say, “We believe in some and disbelieve in others,” and wish to adopt a way in between – Those are the disbelievers, truly. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment. But they who believe in Allah and His messengers and do not discriminate between any of them – to those He is going to give their rewards. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.”

So, there is no such thing as “modern” Muslims, in that sense, there are just Muslims.

Number two:

What the testimony of faith implies; in the Quran it is mentioned:

Surah Al-Ahzab 33:36

“It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.”

Nuff said.

Number three:

That we are all going to be tested, saying that we are Muslims doesn’t mean the test has ended – Verse is self explanatory:

Surah Al Ankabut 29:2 – 3

“Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried?”

But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars.”

Number four:

In this life of tests, we will slip and fall, and it is expected but we should always return to Allah and repent and avoid the major sins.

Surah An-Nisa 4:31

“If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden, We will remove from you your lesser sins and admit you to a noble entrance [into Paradise].”

Number five:

Remember that only the disbelievers lose hope in the Mercy of Allah, so  we should never ever ever lose hope.

Surah Yusuf 12:87

“O my sons, go and find out about Joseph and his brother and despair not of mercy from Allah . Indeed, no one despairs of mercy from Allah except the disbelieving people.”

And

Surah Az-Zumar 39:53

“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.”

Number six:

Shall we decide to abandon Islam, by picking what we want from it and leaving others or by picking this world over it, then…( I would say drum rolls please, but I shouldn’t crack jokes at this point… ahh look at that, I just did – lighten up a bit will ya?, but seriously tho…)

Surah Al-Maidah 5:54

“O you who have believed, whoever of you should revert from his religion – Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him [who are] humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers; they strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the blame of a critic. That is the favor of Allah ; He bestows it upon whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”

So I guess I should end this with this following verse:

Number 7:

Being guided once doesn’t necessarily mean being guided forever, we need to be grateful for being guided and ask to stay guided.

Surah Al-Imran 3:8

“[Who say], “Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower.”

Amen.

That’s all folks, hope you enjoyed it.

I love you all for the sake of Allah.

  • ABD

MARRIAGE!!

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Marriage… Yaaayyyyyy it’s that topic we all love. Or is it just me?

     Anyway let me get right to it, so the story goes, I was going around asking people what seemed to be an odd question (Story of my life), and the question was;  Why get married? No seriously why? I mean apart from legal (halal) sex of course. (wait)I sense some of you were expecting me to be more subtle…OK so why marry apart from …you know …yeeaah you know… (It actually feels like I made it worse). Moving on…

     So I asked a couple of friends and some unsuspecting random people, and I kept getting some of the same answers that weren’t really to my satisfaction. Like well some would say about the hadith;

“ Abdullah (b. Mas’ud) (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said to us: O young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes (from casting evil glances) and preserves one from immorality; but he who cannot afford It should observe fast for it is a means of controlling the sexual desire.”

Lowering the gaze well that has a lot to do with you know (m not making this any better am I?)

   And then there was companionship, sweet but that’s not exclusive to marriage. And in some marriages that’s not really there. I know ideally it should be in every marriage but unfortunately that’s not the case.

   So what else did they have for me? Kids, children, those little rascals in daipers? Well and good, let the Ummah grow, so marry for sex and kids? Ummm Not quite there yet.  Ahh then there was the “build each other spiritually, and support each other in that manner”….true true, very noble cause. But I remain a skeptic as the devil’s advocate in this and say again that’s not exclusive to marriage. Some marriages pull people even further away from Allah. I mean that’s if we are going to be honest about it.

Of course hence why the Prophet (s.a.w) said in the hadith;

“Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) 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!”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Still…I wanted to know what made marriage so special, and so recommended in Islam and basically almost every religion on the planet. In Islam its half our deen….seriously think about how huge that is…

Hadith;

Al-Bayhaqi narrated in Shu’ab al-Eemaan from al-Raqaashi: “When a person gets married he has completed half of his religion, so let him fear Allaah with regard to the other half.”

So as my search continued, I finally got the answer from a friend of mine, we don’t meet often but it happend…and we went down the same path as everyone else but finally he said, marriage makes us ( drum rolls please….keep going, not quite there yet, and..now ) marriage makes us more COMPASSIONATE (woohhhooooo finally) . We learn to truly love and care, for one another, we build a family, we become more empathetic, gentle and kind. In many ways it opens our hearts and dare I say purifies them, making us more humble and patient.

   Now I am not saying that marriage automatically makes us more compassionate or that everyone who is married is more compassionate than the rest. No, not at All, but what I am saying is that marriage is the perfect training ground for being compassionate. That’s what I found to be exclusive to marriage and it’s bloody sad that some people miss out on that after getting married. (Moment of Silence please) Moving on..

   Through forgiving mistakes, overlooking each other’s flaws, covering for one another and being selfless more often; our hearts become more tender and more human?   When you think about it, isn’t that what Islam is teaching? Being more compassionate makes us more likely to live a proper Muslim life. The type of compassion found in a marriage and a family can’t be found in other settings, and doesn’t the society stem from marriage and family? So eventually the root of compassion in a society, better yet compassion in the world stems from Marriage. –LAWYERED!!!

Well after this practically everything else falls into place, companionship, building each other spiritually, kids, love,  the whole deal.

I know you think it’s over and you would be right, but I am a firm believer of the double tap, so here is the final bullet.

This is pretty easy and a no brainer…. So what is one of Allah’s most mentioned Attribute?

That’s right….The most Compassionate.

BOOYAAH…I rest my case. (Take a bow and Exit stage left)

Love you all for the Sake of Allah

– ABD

(My apologies for the long pause there)

Am I right or am I RIGHT?? Do you  agree with me? Or got more to add?

Comment below

UNREAL REALITY

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Asalaam Aleykum Every body

 

I would like to  keep this short.

The Tube in the picture is representing the Entertainment industry,

No, I’m not going to condemn the whole entertainment industry, I’m just going to point out certain things we should bear in mind, and just be conscious of, then make our own decisions accordingly.

     What I have learnt so far from observing myself and others, one of the main effects of the entertainment industry, is that it twists our perception of reality. It makes us feel like the life portrayed in the entertainment industry is the life to live, while in reality that life is a myth, that even the entertainers who portray these lives don’t actually live them.

   The second issue is it makes us love this world more than the next, it makes us love the dunya, makes dunya feel like it could be a mini paradise. Of course that type of thinking comes with its own bag of goodies, we all know what happens when we chase this world and forget the next. To save us the suspense… It never ends well.

  Finally the issue with the Entertainment industry at the very least is that it’s a distraction for the idle citizen. If it won’t brainwash you, or get you on a wild goose chase, then at least it will waste your time. That might sound like, ahhh that’s not bad, but my personal philosophy about the value of our time is that it is proportional to the value of our lives. How we value our own lives, is how we value our own time, depending on our aspirations and ambitions.

    If we plan on changing the world, then the value of our time is almost priceless, but if we plan on going Pro in couch surfing, then the value of our time is, well, ummmm, N-E-G-A..tive??? ( shoulder shrug and squinted eyes).

     Now of course we all need a little distraction here and there, we aren’t robots. So entertainment in itself is good, but the type of entertainment and the duration of the entertainment should be controlled so it doesn’t interfere with our other obligations.

       Addiction to media is common, Junkies everywhere these days, daily fix. We might be in that crowd too, don’t believe me? Try quitting, tell me about the withdrawal symptoms, when we start our support groups, and thank you for sharing in advance. Haha

I love you all for the Sake of Allah

  • ABD

 

DIFFERENCES…

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Asalam Aleykum Fellow homosapiens,

     Just recently, in the last days of Ramadan I was at the mosque for prayer and for some reason I decided to just sit and start looking at people. Honing my observation skills, people walking, talking, praying, reading and yeaa that’s about it.   Suddenly something hit me, not something physical (don’t jump to conclusions), I mean a thought got into my mind. Which was “ heyyy look at the variety of Muslims around” , okkk wait, first don’t judge me, I am not as slow as that thought sounds.

     It’s just that I had never really thought about how many different types of Muslims there are, I’m not talking about differences in Madhab, I’m talking in terms of race, color, culture, thoughts, backgrounds, (Ok, I might be slow)  but not as a source of discrimination but as a source of beauty.

  The issue is that I had somehow taken for granted this diversity; it was just Muslims are Muslims; we are all one Ummah done deal. Signed, sealed, delivered. I never quite thought about the fact that, so many people from so many different walks of life are Muslims, to the extent that the only thing common in their lives is only Islam. Everything else is almost completely different.

It was so nice seeing so many different types of people all come together to worship Allah. Which reminded me of this Ayah;

Surah Nasr 110

When the victory of Allah has come and the conquest, And you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitudes, Then exalt [Him] with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance.”

    So I left thinking about it, I told my friend about it, he must have thought I am high off Taraweeh prayers, and wobbly legs is causing simple thoughts to seem profound (I don’t usually sound coherent when these types of thoughts first get into my system). But I still like the thought of the differences and the variety it’s just amazing to me. Life would be very very boring if we were all the same, I mean borderline suicidal type of boring. What next? guess it’s the next life then, good bye monotonous world.

Surat Al-Ĥujurāt 49:13 

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”

 I believe we should learn to embrace our differences and to bond in our similarities. Feel free to Quote me. Hold on, my head is tipping over to the left from ego inflation. The next verse should set it right.

 Surat Al Maidah 5:48

“And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.”

I added this so as to remind us to never ever judge anyone who isn’t Muslim or Muslim yet, since it’s clear here that Allah chose to make it so to test us in what HE has given us. I would like to think that part of that test is our tolerance towards people different from ourselves, (by ourselves I mean individually, not as an Ummah) which would be everyone.

Basically, embrace the differences within the Ummah and tolerate the differences outside the Ummah, of course the good ones in both cases. I am not advocating taking up drinking because you are “embracing the differences”… That difference is best left a difference.

Love you all for the sake of Allah

  • ABD

CHALLENGES

activities-Bungee_Jumping_From_A_Cable_Car-31365088466

    First off, I hope everyone had a blessed Ramadan, and I would like to apologize once again for the silence. It had a lot to do with Fasting, Finals, Work and a Thesis, it was fun…the only thing that could top that kind of fun is to go bungee jumping with NO STRINGS ATTACHED, then do two back flips, three rolls and finish off with a HEAD STAND! …did I mention NO STRINGS ATTACHED?  Because  it would SUCK if we left that part out. So without further ado, I bring to you;

    Challenges; We all have challenges in our lives, call them problems, call them tests, I prefer challenges. Because they are things that once you overcome them, you come out stronger and better and ready to face new and harder challenges. It shows progress. Problems on the other hand have a connotation with things that are usually random and overcoming them doesn’t really mean it leads to progress, rather it’s just something in our way best left avoided.

      So these challenges slash tests that we all have and all struggle with, facing them challenges makes us stronger and better people. Keyword “Facing”, because as we all know, not everytime or everyone faces their challenges. Sometimes we push them to the side and hope they will go away by distracting ourselves, but that’s a proven hands down failure tactic, no two ways about it. However getting the courage to get up (not literally) and face them doesnt come easy either, but eyy we gotta suck it up and get it over with if we want to live better lives and become better people. Because honestly that’s the point of challenges, to make us better. Once you overcome a challenge when you look back at it, most times it doesn’t seem like a challenge anymore. Its purpose has passed. So I would suggest that, that’s how we should look at the various challenges in our lives that they are kept there so that we may become better people.

    We want to be better at school, we want to be better at home, a better son, a better daughter, a better father, or mother, a better friend, a better worker or entrepreneur. Humans are created seeking more, wanting more and moving forward, it is never ending. Challenges can also be things like avoiding the influence of bad friends, smoking, drinking, or quiting these things.

Remember Allah would not test a servant with more than what the servant can bear

Surat al-Muminun 23:62

And We charge no soul except [with that within] its capacity, and with Us is a record which speaks with truth; and they will not be wronged.”

I’ll be honest I have had challenges mop the floor with me and the challenges that I overcame I had to bend over backwards so far that I nearly looked upright again. Yes we have all seen the dark side of our challenges, but what this Verse means is we all have it in us to overcome our challenges, we are stronger than our challenges. Whether we see it now or not, but simply being stronger doesn’t mean we don’t need to struggle for it, it just means if we do struggle we will succeed. So Keep up the Hustle. And remember

Surat al-A’raf 7:42

But those who believed and did righteous deeds – We charge no soul except [within] its capacity. Those are the companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally.”

And

Surat al-Kahf 18:88

But as for one who believes and does righteousness, he will have a reward of Paradise, and we will speak to him from our command with ease.”

Finally

Surat az-Zumar, 52-54

“Do they not know that Allah expands and restricts the provision of anyone He wills? There are certainly Signs in that for people who believe. Say [from Me]: “My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of His mercy. Truly, Allah forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” Turn to your Lord and submit to Him before punishment comes upon you, for then you cannot be helped.

Love you all for the sake of Allah

  • ABD

QUALITY VS. QUANTITY

quality_or_quantityHEADS UP: It is a bit long, I know, I know,  this is probably the last one that will be this long. By long I don’t mean boring, far from it, (I hope), I mean it will take about five minutes to finish.

TIMER starts Now:

       Quality trumps quantity every time, unless we are financially challenged, but in an ideal world Quality would always trump Quantity.

So now let’s apply this to our spiritual life. With the following question:

Is it about how many Surahs (Verses) we have memorized or how many we understand and apply?

 Before I move on, there are two things I would like to say, number one, you may have a different opinion from mine, this is not an exam question, I don’t think there is a wrong answer. Second, I am not trying to down play memorizing the Quran without understanding or reading it the same.

   That being said, once again let us  ask ourselves which one is more valuable and meaningful, to memorize the whole Quran as though a long song and not understand a word of it, or to know and understand just a few Surahs first and apply them in our lives. Which one is better? Which one affects us more?

     Don’t get me wrong, memorizing many Surahs and eventually the whole Quran is the main goal and only Allah knows how great the reward is for that apart from the ones already mentioned in the hadiths. But the focus here is about balancing the scales, memorizing and understanding plus applying.

  I believe it’s not about how many Surahs we have memorized it’s also about how many we understand and how many we apply.

Simply put, it’s about our actions. Many Sahabahs (Companions of the Prophet (SAW)) were not Alims (Scholars), or hafiz of the Quran, but they still managed to lead very Islamic lives, and had extremely strong Imaan that inspired others and brought others to Islam. They spread Islam by their actions, application of even the little that they knew.

So what’s our excuse not to learn, memorize and practice?

   Everything we need is readily available we don’t need to travel to a foreign land to see an alim (Scholar). Smart phones can bring to us everything we need. Whether its books, or videos.

   All we need is  to decide to start practicing, ayah by Ayah, Surah by Surah, day by day and eventually we would have memorized and put into practice the whole Quran inshaAllah.

   Here is the plan, the next action step: First we learn a surah or even an Ayah, any of our choosing, short ones to begin with are good. Then get its translation word for word, so we can reflect on it, and read its tafseer (interpretation of its meaning by scholars). And the major homework is to find out how to apply it. And finally just go ahead and start applying, working on it.

    Things won’t change overnight,(I can almost guarantee you that, money back no questions asked) but sooner than later a lot of things will start to change, such as concentration in prayer will increase, since it’s easier to reflect on the Verses when we are reciting them. The Quran will have a deeper impact and meaning in our lives, because now it is not just a book we read to feel good about ourselves, but it’s a book we read because we seek guidance, and the more we seek guidance from the Quran the more we grow to understand it, and honestly when we start understanding the Quran, WE WILL LOVE IT.

    Speaking from experience, I can’t quite explain it. All your problems won’t disappear just like that, problems will continue to be there but they won’t be overwhelming anymore, our perspective of problems won’t even be problems anymore, just challenges, just things we try to understand why Allah wanted this for us. But mostly, everything that happens to us, we will consider to be good.

     Here is an example of understanding and applying verses in the Quran. A friend of mine was once telling me about the things he wants out of life, and what he prays for, which were a lot of good things, didn’t really seem it could get any better so at the end we said InshaAllah may he get all these things, and he added “Yes, I will either get these or better”… OK Pause. What did he mean “these or better” I mean from the things he said, he would be mighty blessed to get all of them, let alone get better than them. But I know him, so I understood what he meant at that time, which was Whatever Allah gives him is what’s best for him, even if it’s not the things he asked for, If Allah gives him it means they are better for him than what he asked for. It took me like a whole day to acknowledge that level of Imaan then.

     I was thinking how come I never looked at it that way? That whatever Allah gives us is what is best for us, even if it’s not exactly what we want. So When we make dua there are really only two options, Either we Get what we want how we want it or we get something better, because Allah knows best and Allah only wants to make things easy for us.

Surat An-Nisā’

4:28

“And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak.”

It also points out to make dua and know and understand whatever we get is the best for us. It’s not always easy to see things this way all the time, but Allah is the most Merciful and we do get points for trying.

Allah says in the Quran

Surat Ghāfir

40:60

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

And

Surat Al-Baqarah

2:186

“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.”

That’s a solid invitation right there to ask for each and everything we want and Ramadan is starting, so we can ask and ask and ask, a lot of asking, for forgiveness and health, family, and saying thanks and being grateful. And that million dollars we have always wanted, if you are into that sort of thing. Hahaha 😀 , But Seriously, Seeking Allah’s bounty is not only a blessed act, it is a mandatory act. We have been instructed to do so,

Surat Al-Jumu’ah

62: 9 – 10

“O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.

And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah , and remember Allah often that you may succeed.”

   And that, ladies and gentlemen is why Friday is NOT a weekend. Saturday was for Jews and Sunday for Christians, but on Friday Muslims still go hard. That’s work ethic for ya. 🙂 Even right after Friday prayer we have been instructed to go seek Allah’s bounty.

    Well this is my understanding of these few verses in my life and my application of them. Of course the understanding and application of it is not limited to one thing, that’s another beauty of the Quran.

And In conclusion, Quality over Quantity, in a way it should also makes us humble, in that we shouldn’t think just because we memorized so many verses of the Quran that we are better than someone who has only memorized a few. Think about it.

Ramadan Mubarak Everyone,

Love you all for the sake of Allah

ABD

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 Just out of curiosity which box would you tick? about Quality of application of verses memorized.