Day 29: Reflections Compilation

Asalaamu Alaaikum,

Eid Mubarak!! So we have reached the end, maashaAllaaah! I thought I would do something different for this last reflection! I have taken a few sentences from some of the previous posts (Day 1-Day 28) which include my own words as well as quotes, ayahs, hadith and more in hopes of creating a condensed, and hopefully coherent, reminder to sum up the whole series. I have really enjoyed writing up these short reflections. I did get behind schedule a few times but Alhamdulilah overall it’s been a very enriching experience! Furthermore, this series has motivated me to keep writing after Ramadan and bring this website back to life. I’m so excited for what’s to come, inshaAllaah! Thank you for following along!

Without further ado, here is the compilation. Bismillah:

Throughout the year, we have accumulated so many sins. We need to deep clean our Deen! Our ibaadah! Our intentions! Let’s declutter by doing away with bad habits, getting rid of them entirely as they’re doing nothing but cluttering up our Deen! Let’s increase those habits which bring us closer to Allaah and decrease those which make us further from Him. Or those which are just not as beneficial for us even if they are permissible.  After Ramadan finishes, let’s make it a goal then to tidy our Deen by continuous, small actions so that our deep cleaning efforts do not go to waste.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”

“Allah Azza Wajal informs us in the Quran that the goal of Ramadan is to attain taqwa or piety. How is this done? By gaining discipline. Every action in Ramadan leads to increased discipline, which is a necessary component to any kind of success. You could be the most talented person and have the best of opportunities available but without discipline, it will all fall apart. Through fasting and worship, we discipline our bodies and souls, to constantly challenge ourselves and either break up bad habits or acquire good ones.” [Latifa Aimaq]

At the end of the day, our Creator wants the best for us. He wants us to choose the right path in life, despite the many tempting alternative paths we can take. He wants us to walk Siratul Mustaqeem (the Straight Path). Though we might not see it this way, even Allah warning us from His Punishment is a great mercy. For only someone who cares about you will tell you the truth.

Imam Ash-Shafi’i, may Allaah have mercy on him once said, “O my soul, it is not for a few days patience, As if her extent were a few dreams. Oh my soul, pass quickly on through this world, And leave it, for indeed life lies ahead of it.”

Also, there is a beautiful quote from Ibn Qayyim (rh) in his treatise on patience:

O you who are patient! Bear a little more, just a little more remains.”

Though short, this quote is so comprehensive. It’s so reassuring to read especially in these times of fitna (tribulation). Many of us are facing internal and/or external battles. Though they may differ in size, length, cause, manifestation, and other factors, they share one thing in common: they require struggle, steadfastness, and patience.

Allaah says:

’Whoever works righteousness ” whether male or female ” while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)“ [al-Nahl 16:97]

So in addition to having patience and remaining steadfast, we need to be active participants in our Deen. We cannot fall back on what our forefathers did or did not do. We will be held accountable for our own deeds. And the truth is we live in a time of accessible information and knowledge. It is practically at our fingertips. Therefore we do not have an excuse to be weak in the Deen, to be negligent of obligatory actions, to continue ineffective parenting techniques, to ignore the emotional and social needs of children, to ignore our real purpose in life.

We have no excuse, and we will have no excuse on the Day of Judgement. To simply attribute our faults to our forefathers is to remove responsibility from our shoulders, to escape accountability. And that, like with previous nations mentioned in the Qur’an, will simply not fly. Let’s take responsibility for our own lives. Our Deen. Our children. Our here and our hereafter.

Let’s strive for Jannah.

Remember:

In Jannah: there will be no grief, no tears, no sadness – only everlasting delights and comfort.

No tragedies – only bliss and satisfaction.

No shame or guilt – only rewards for past good deeds and forgiveness for transgressions.

No trauma or pain – only joy and contentment.

Imagine that life? It cannot be purchased, we can only strive for it with faith, good deeds, patience, and perseverance.

Allaah (azza wa jal) says:

A spring wherefrom the slaves of Allah will drink, causing it to gush forth abundantly. They (are those who) fulfill (their) vows, and they fear a Day whose evil will be wide-spreading. And they give food, inspite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to Miskin (poor), the orphan, and the captive, (Saying): We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you. Verily, We fear from our Lord a Day, hard and distressful, that will make the faces look horrible (from extreme dislikeness to it). So Allah saved them from the evil of that Day, and gave them Nadratan (a light of beauty) and joy. And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient.” [Surat al-Insaan: 6-12]

Let’s also remember, if we have any character or personality trait or a frequent habit we engage in which opposes our Deen, we only have one option: to drop it! So for example, if we tend to have no filter when we speak, and thus say inappropriate comments or nitpick at peoples’ faults, this is something we need to rid ourselves of before it destroys us. Before we have to pay for it in this world and possibly the next. A famous, well-quoted hadith which is sadly overlooked in terms of implementation, details what will happen to a person who harmed Muslims with their tongue and hands on the Day of Judgement. One such unfortunate person will have all of their good deeds taken away by those they harmed and when their good deeds run out, they will be left with the sins of others! Imagine! A whole life of ibaadah and good deeds converted to sins! All because of the evil they created on earth with their tongue and limbs. I know we do not desire such an unfortunate end. This is a reminder to myself first that we should take great effort in refining our manners, controlling our tongues, perfecting our speech and getting rid of bad habits and traits which negatively impact those around us.

Our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa salam) when mentioning the best deeds, frequently referred to good character and dealing well with others as in the following three hadith:

  1. “The best of the Muslims is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe.” [Muslim]

  2. “The best of people are those with the most excellent character.” [Tabarani, Sahih]

  3. “The best of people are those that bring most benefit to the rest of mankind.” [Daraqutni, Hasan]

Let’s remember that all the knowledge in the world will not benefit us, if that knowledge is not displayed in our manners and character. May Allaah grant us good akhlaaq and adaab! And may Allaah keep us steadfast on His Deen! Ameen

Wasalaamu Alaaikum

 

Day 28: Home of the Masaakiin

Asalamu Alaaikum,

Here’s another reflection I pulled from the Archives of Anisa. In it I compare modern day Muslims to righteous people from previous generations (the Salaf). I know it’s very easy for us to read narration after narration of the Salaf’s generosity, righteousness and steadfastness upon the Deen, but admittedly it’s not as easy to follow in their footsteps! It might even be challenging to find anyone around us who does. But their lives were meant to be a blueprint for us to build righteous hearts and homes from. For us to model our behavior, manners and characters from. They are called the righteous predecessors for a reason, they have preceded us in khair and the obligation is on us to follow! Read the description of my dear relatives below and how they remind me of the righteous people I always read about.

begging_bowl_42

The Home of the Masaakin

My mom just returned from a trip to Africa. She spent a good 3 months there hanging out with her Mother (now deceased Allah have mercy on her) and all of her siblings and their ever-expanding families. Additionally she spent time and was invited by many of her ehel (close family) and qaraabo (relatives). I usually spend a good portion of the day just listening to her stories from there (and inshaAllaah I hope to follow in her footsteps and visit the motherland soon!). One story in particular stood out to me. My mom mentioned the generosity of one family. The family is maashaAllaah very blessed with a good life in comparison to the majority of people living in Africa. To be honest, they are living a good life compared to many in the West!  The head of the household, my Abti (an uncle or older male relative from mom’s side) is, a Doctor and his wife a store owner. They live in a huge house fully staffed with over 20-30 maids/handymen. What is amazing is not that they are living such a comfortable life, for how many wealthy/well-off people are there in this world? Rather what is amazing is what they are doing with the blessings they were given.

My mom told me that on average every day there are 30-40 masaakiin (poor/needy people) who come to eat at their house. Every day! My mom was so surprised at their generosity and hospitality not only to her as a guest but to so many of the city’s poor. And this wasn’t just an occurrence during Ramadan (which  was the time that she was there), rather the family was known for this for many years. There is more! The head of many acts of charity and kindness were spearheaded not by the head of the house (my uncle) but rather his wife. She ‘married off’ her workers numerous times by paying for their weddings, new houses and all of their needs. She mentioned she regarded them as her ‘sons and daughters’ and did not make a distinction between them and her real children.  Many of these workers are orphans or youth who cannot maintain a life anywhere else due to poverty. MaashaAllaah! I was just awestruck to hear of her good qualities and her open-handiness. I promised myself that I would do the same and open my (future) home to all those who were in need. It’s one thing to read a Qur’anic ayah or hadith about being kind to neighbors, the poor, the orphans, etc. It is another thing to implement it! Hearing their story reminded me of the beautiful ayaats in Surat al-Insaan. Allaah (azza wa jal) says:

A spring wherefrom the slaves of Allah will drink, causing it to gush forth abundantly. They (are those who) fulfill (their) vows, and they fear a Day whose evil will be wide-spreading. And they give food, inspite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to Miskin (poor), the orphan, and the captive, (Saying): We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you. Verily, We fear from our Lord a Day, hard and distressful, that will make the faces look horrible (from extreme dislikeness to it). So Allah saved them from the evil of that Day, and gave them Nadratan (a light of beauty) and joy. And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient.” [Surat al-Insaan: 6-12]

I ask Allaah to bless my Aunt and Uncle and make us all from those who spend from that which they were blessed with. Ameen!

Stay tuned for more reflections!

Wasalaamu Alaiakum

Day 27: Geedkii Ku Yaalay….Miyaad Xusuusataa?

Asalaamu Alaiakum

This is a reflection from a few years ago. I thought I would include it in this series. It’s quite lengthy but I hope it’s beneficial!

So, today on my way to work I was inspired to put up a new post. And what caused this moment of inspiration you may ask? The cold weather! Yes, the cold weather! O how gentle was that breeze! As it hit my face, nipped at my cheeks, and sent a chill down my spine! I wanted to cry out: How excellent is winter! How excellent is winter!

….I didn’t because well, I would simply look like an unfortunate soul who lost all her marbles, but you get my point. I ❤ winter. This past summer up to the ending of last week, we have been experiencing one heatwave after another. It goes without saying, the summers and their feisty heat-tantrums simply do not agree with me!

Alhamdulilah, the signs of winter are ever nearing and I couldn’t be happier.

Today one of my very best friends texted me and mentioned how beautiful the sky and landscape looked in the early morning hours (around Fajr). She is a nature enthusiast just like me. Her text  reminded me of how the Elderly Folk in the community always reminisce on the animals, trees, landscapes, etc in the Old Country (Somalia). The title I chose: “geedkii ku yaalay….miyaad xusuusataa?” roughly translates into “that tree in……do you remember it?” I kid you not, this is what all the Awoowes (grandfathers) and Ayeeyos (grandmothers) say. Even the Aunts and Uncles can be found reminiscing on a particular well or tree located in this exact place where they all remember. What ensues is a round of ‘ahh-ing’, sighing and recollecting on stories attached to the said landmark/animal/location. The hottest topics are by far camels. Those darling creatures just capture the heart of Somalis like nobody’s business. I think sometimes the camels are cherished more than children (I kid, don’t sue a Sister). Anywho I digress. Back to the original point, when I was younger I would roll my eyes and think, ‘Oh not that tree again’, but now I appreciate the thought pattern behind the remembering of that tree and the tree itself!

Here is what I gathered:

Point 1

The Thought: I believe on one side the Elders are trying to draw with memories and words an invisible bridge to the home they always knew, in hopes that they can cross this bridge and be back in the comfort and joy of their previous life (even it be in their mind). So the tree represents familiarity, the shade it provided tranquility, the camels represent stability and the blue skies, gardens and luscious fruit represent the bounties of a life once lived to the fullest. One lived without the strange sense of not belonging, without the weak and impoverished state of mind and body and without the all-encompassing fear of what can go wrong next and worse yet not knowing how to react to that unknown event. I remember on many occasions my mom would make her own journey to this bridge. One time I was eating a mango and remarked on how delicious it tasted. My mom in reply said, ‘if only you saw the mangoes that grow in Somalia, they are the size of three fists and can satisfy your hunger for the whole day’. I reflect upon that incident and realize my mother wasn’t just talking smack on American mangoes (!), she was comparing the entire life here in America compared to back home. In her mind, Somalia is the epitome of perfection and in it there was no need unfilled. Even though we were not well-off, we were content. In this new nation, all she sees is longing for more and more. In her thoughts, nothing quite matches the  quality or the quantity of anything back home. I was talking to one of my Eedos (paternal aunties) in the Masjid once and we starting chatting about the state of affairs (ok seriously, I really enjoy being in the company of older people). She mentioned some of the things which were bothering her physically, the seemingly never ending illnesses which she claimed would be healed with the drink of camel’s milk back home. I observed her and noticed a look of sadness wash over her whole face as she said, ‘this is not home’. I get it now. All of these years I was slightly annoyed by the talk of what seemed to be useless things (I mean who dreams about a camel right?), but now I know with a certain knowledge where these wise elders are coming from.

Point 2

The Tree: Another aspect of the recollections of the Elderly in the Somali community is the actual focus on nature and animals and many of Allaah’s creations. I frequently ponder over this verse from Surat al-Imraan and Surat al-Baqarah, let’s draw some connections after reading inshaAllaah:

Allaah says,

Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which is of use to mankind, and the water (rain) which Allaah sends down from the sky and makes the earth alive therewith after its death, and the moving (living) creatures of all kinds that He has scattered therein, and in the veering of winds and clouds which are held between the sky and the earth, are indeed Ayaat (proofs, evidences, signs, etc.) for people of understanding.

And Allah says,

“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. Those who remember Allah standing, sitting and lying down o­n their sides and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and earth [saying] “Our Lord! You have not created [all] these without purpose, glory to You! Give us salvation from the torment of the fire” [Qur’an 3:190-191]

So if you sit in the company of adults (who were born in Somalia), you realize much of the memories they fall back on have strong illustrations of nature.  Stories aside, even walking next to an Elderly person you will hear many comments on the sky, the wind blowing, the rains coming, the warmth of the sun, etc. It’s like having a Discovery Channel commentator at your side! And don’t even get me started on watching Discovery Channel Documentaries, especially those on Animals. If you are anything like my parents, every new documentary that comes on has to be watched and with the whole family. So going back to the verses, I see that Somalis do in fact act upon them by mentioning the praises of Allaah’s creation at every chance. The camels included!

And if we reflect deeply, we see that the poorest of men like the Bedouin and the richest, wealthiest man all desire a close connection to nature. This is why the Bedouin’s favorite time is that spent with his animals and this is why the wealthy man’s house sits right next to the beach or why he purchases vast amounts of open land and sometimes even Islands. It is all to appreciate and be connected to the creations of Allaah and the Creator Himself, whether they know that or not. It’s the fitrah (natural disposition) at work. SubhanaAllah.

May Allaah give us insight, wisdom and patience to reflect upon His Creations, ameen!!

Stay tuned for more reflections!

Wasalamu Alaaikum

Day 26: Lesson from the Little Ones

Asalamu Alaaikum

It’s almost 3:00am. I think something has spooked my son as he’s stirring in his sleep again. Some nights I watch him as he wakes from a restless sleep and proceeds to sit up for a few seconds to scan the dark room. Then he calmly re-positions himself and nods off again. His life, I think, is so uncomplicated. His biggest worry is when I will get up to prepare the regular breakfast of oatmeal or eggs with a side of fruit. Or when the next bottle of milk will be offered. Or when the next park adventure will be. The innocence and simple nature of children is something everyone marvels at. People frequently say, “If only I was a child again, I would have no worries and no responsibilities…I would be happy.” Or they lament at how fast their childhood went by and how stressful adulthood is. This is understandable. As adults, each passing day brings more obligations and tasks. It’s not easy adulting, I realize that. Even so, I wonder sometimes what prevents, us despite our full plates, from adopting the positive mindset and outlook of children?

Children wake each day with an optimistic attitude, ready to embrace the world. Ready to unleash their imagination and let their curiosity take them further than yesterday and the day before that. They hold no malice or anger inside their hearts for anyone, even those who hurt them, as their memory isn’t that long. They take every opportunity to smile and laugh and to make those around them do the same. They look for the good in people. They ask questions without hesitation, without fearing embarrassment or being viewed as ‘weird’. They don’t believe in cliques. They uplift those around them. Even if they cannot form the right words to console, their bright cheerful countenance is enough. They don’t mind routine and they are patient if life throws them a curve ball that totally changes the course of their day, month, or year. They are eternally patient, eternally grateful. Simple things amuse them. Lastly, they don’t judge the worth of those around them by material possessions. Rather, the ranks of those they love are determined by the love they share, happiness they bring and quality time they spend together.

SubhanAllaah children are amazing little beings. We have so much to learn from them, don’t we?

Stay tuned for more reflections!

Wasalaamu Alaiakum

Day 25: Three Conditions to Acquire Excellent Manners

Asalaamu Alaaikum

It seems I am racing against the clock to put up reflections for the last days! It’s been such a hectic time. Additionally, I’ve been dealing with a bad cough. It reminds me of a guest who overstays their visit, they just don’t get the hint to leave and this cough isn’t leaving me anytime soon! :) Alhamdulilah ala kulli haal. Today’s reflection is from Ibn Qayyim (rh) and it’s centered on how to acquire the best of manners. As I mentioned in a previous post, manners are everything! It’s important we spend time perfecting both our manners and characters, as Deen without either is like an empty vessel!

Three Conditions to Acquire Excellent Manners

This is one example of the excellent manners with which Allah Ta’ala has equipped his Messenger . He described him as,

”And verily, you (O Muhammad ) are on an exalted standard of character.”
[68:4]

A’ishah (radiAllahu anha), described him as, “His character was just [a reflection of] the Qur’an.”
[Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ahmad]

Such excellent character cannot be attained without three conditions:

1. The foundation must be good. If one has a rough and dry nature, it will be hard for him to submit to this [excellence of character] through knowledge, will, or practice. On the other hand, a mild and smooth nature will be ready and willing to receive the plowing and the seeds [to prepare it for character excellence].

2. The soul must be strong and capable of conquering calls of laziness, transgression, and desire. Those matters contradict perfection, and souls which cannot defeat them will always be defeated and conquered.

3. [One must possess] a discerning knowledge of the truth of matters, enabling one to put them in the rightful position, and to distinguish between flash and cancer – between glass and jewels.

If these three qualities are present in a man, and Allah’s facilitation helps him, then he will be among those whom the best (husna) has been decreed and for whom Allah’s care has been secured.

From “The Magnificent Journey” by ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah

Day 24: “So seek Allah and be patient you”

Asalaamu Alaaikum

I promised a poem in the beginning of this series, so now I am fulfilling that promise! This poem was written for a poetry competition I hosted on a Facebook page many moons ago. It’s written by a Sister named Naima Shire. Among all of the submissions, I have to say hers was my favorite maashaAllaah. Have a read below, and Sister Naima if you are reading this: may Allaah reward you for this beautifully written reminder! Ameen <3

Whether you are struggling or torn by strife
The best of virtues is patience and it is the key to life
As the Qur’an says: If patience, perseverance, and prayer is how you seek your Lord
Indeed you will receive Allah’s aid and double the reward
Remember after every hardship, there comes a time of ease
It is a fact that everything you do Allah always sees
So seek Allah and be patient you
Sooner or later this will pass through

There are two parts of faith which are the main necessities
Both sabr (patience) and shukr (gratitude) are the most complementary qualities
We will all be trialed and tested with difficulties, sadness or despair
Those who believe will find comfort with the words of Allah and will be aware
That tawwakal, trusting Allah is a tool for happiness and success
Following this, you will no longer distress or even digress
So seek Allah and be patient you
Sooner or later this will pass through

It is righteous to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity
Allah will test you in the form of happiness or calamity
So do not let helplessness and sadness override you in your situation
Instead bow down to Allah so you can be guided in the right direction
Indeed Allah is with those who are patient, as the Qur’an confirmed
May Allah make us amongst those who were patient and endured
So seek Allah and be patient you
Sooner or later this will pass through

Stay tuned for more reflections!

Wasalamu Alaiakum

Day 23: Downfall of the Deen-Driven [Part 2]

Asalaamu Alaaikum

This is a continuation of the last post which discussed some of the pitfalls faced by those who are newly practicing, those who I like to refer to as the ‘Deen-Driven’ Muslims. The last post dealt with three DONTS. This post deals with the opposite. Three things we should do in our new Deen journeys.

  1. Read, Listen, Learn & Repeat – Your first duty as a Muslim is to better yourself. To increase in knowledge about obligatory and supererogatory actions. In order to do this you have to be willing to read countless books, listen to lectures and attend the gatherings of the knowledgeable, among other things. One mistake newly Deen-Driven individuals make is that they read one or two books, or sometimes even just a couple of hadith, and suddenly they feel qualified to speak about the Deen. I’m not saying this to be condescending, honestly this is a trap we all fall into. Our zeal and enthusiasm for the Deen overrides everything. It’s important we keep ourselves in check and spend most of our time learning.
  2. Silence is Golden – To continue the previous point, another important aspect to consider is that ‘af-daboolan waa dahab’ – a closed mouth is gold. This is a saying that is common in many cultures and for a reason. If we are cautious of our speech, we will make less mistakes. This is not to say that we shouldn’t make Dawah and spread the beautiful message of the Deen to Muslim and non-Muslim alike. However, we should also be weary of asserting ourselves as leaders, speakers, etc if we are not grounded in knowledge. Instead we should look to a more qualified person in the community to take this position and we should humble ourselves and join those benefiting from their knowledge. It’s one thing to have an incorrect understanding about something, it’s entirely different if we spread that incorrect knowledge to the community. So instead of rushing to speak, we should be more willing to be silent and absorb the knowledge around us.
  3. Seek the Help of Allaah – Nothing is possible without the Help of Allaah. It was Allah who guided us to the straight path and it is only Allah that can keep us on it. We do not want to spend our whole lives worshipping Allaah only to become astray towards the end, and die in that state (subhanAllaah). We should constantly turn to Allaah for Help and Guidance. This will also help us to stay humble and steadfast, inshaAllaah.

I ask Allaah to make us from the righteous, those who hear and say the best of words and act upon them. Ameen

Stay tuned for more reflections!

Wasalamu Alaiakum

Day 22: Downfall of the Deen-Driven [Part 1]

Asalaamu Alaiakum

This is a two-part post dedicated to a very important topic. It is especially pertinent as many Muslims, after having an incredible Ramadan experience maashaAllaah, will turn to the Deen and join the group referred to as ‘practicing Muslims’. This is of course a wonderful thing, it’s a miracle from Allaah that multitudes of Muslims who were previously astray, or just in a ‘religious rut’, return to their religion and turn to their Lord. However there is a sort of blessing ‘byline’ that needs to be written and discussed. What is it? Well, from my very short stay on this earth, I have learned one thing: extremism and negligence are two roads that are very tempting to walk while moderation is a less traveled path. It’s easy to abandon prayers or even the entire religion altogether. Just the same it’s easy for one to fall into extremism in terms of implementation of the Deen. In this post, I will highlight some of the pitfalls faced by Deen-driven individuals who due to lack of grounded knowledge, good role models, foresight, patience (or all the above) end up with burnout or even worse pushing others away from the religion. The first three are DON’Ts – things we should avoid on our journey to perfecting our Deen:

  1. Foundational Knowledge vs Fiqh Debates – One of the traps of the newly practicing is to get stuck on minor details in terms of knowledge-seeking. For example, engaging in debates about differences of opinions in minute issues. Although this is by no means a useless quest, it is one that is best left to those who are more learned. Whereas a person who just became serious about the Deen, their priority should be learning how to perfect their prayer and other obligatory actions. To fulfill the requirements Allaah stipulated for them individually (fard-ayn) versus that which is required from the community at large, or from the scholars (fard kifayah). It’s very easy to get into very lengthy, seemingly never-ending debates about anything these days, but wouldn’t that time be better spent perfecting our khushoo’ (concentration in prayer) or learning the fundamentals of our Aqeedah (beliefs)? In the beginning at least, this should be the number one focus.
  2. Appearance vs Intentions – Another downfall to be aware of is separating good appearances from good intentions. When one gets more serious about the Deen, it’s natural that others start to take notice. You’ll hear the maashaAllahs as they enter the Masjid, the praise from the elder community and sadly comparisons (to less practicing children) and even the notice of the opposite gender.  As we all know, intentions are everything in our religion. To quote the famous hadith, Innamal ‘amaalu biniyyah’ – verily all actions are by their intentions. Without good intentions, our deeds are useless and in vain. It’s important that we do not let the perception of others, and our outer appearance, preoccupy and distract us from perfecting our niyyah (intentions). Riyya or showing off one’s good deeds for the sake of others is referred to as the minor shirk for a reason. It is considered minor shirk because in reality we are devoting a religious action (ibaadah) to someone else –  for their pleasure, for their acceptance and praise. Growing out a beard, wearing hijaab/jilbaab/niqaab and donning ‘Islamic clothing’ is maashaAllaah a great first step, as are performing public and private good deeds, but let us remember in addition to that, we need to work on our interior: our hearts, minds and souls.
  3. Qeel wa Qaal (He Said, She Said) – Here’s another troublesome area which is very easy to fall into. Even before practicing the Deen, or getting serious about it, Muslims generally know gossiping, spreading rumors and slander are very major sins. It’s a shock therefore to see a fully Hijab-ed, bearded-ed kitaab-carrying, thobe-wearing Muslim speaking ill of others while using the Deen as an excuse! I’ve witnessed Muslims say the most horrible things to each other while thinking they are making Dawah, or ‘defending the Haqq’ (truth). For example, one time I was in engaging in a discussion with someone about not blacklisting every single Muslim with the sole evidence of snippets from a video/audio lecture. One of their comments, or more like insults, really startled me. They told me, ‘you and your Sisters wouldn’t know bid’ah (innovation) if it BIT you in the nose!’ At first I laughed, thinking this is something I would hear from an elementary school child but then it hit me, this person considers themselves in the right and is bullying others in the name of the Deen and that is very scary! We have to understand that the obligation to abandon others, declare who is or who is not an innovator, or other controversial matters and grey areas are not on our shoulders. In fact, if we spend our time perfecting our worship, focusing on gaining foundational knowledge and implementing what we know, that is enough! We do not have to turn into community/keyboard warriors or make alliances with certain Shaykhs or groups. As a layperson, this is not our duty. Our duty is to perfect our own Deen. I learned this after years and years of silly debates,  fruitless online and in-person discussions / debates. One thing is for sure, if we do not to want to experience early burn out, or compromise our imaan, we should do our best to avoid he said / she said and instead focus on what Allaah and His Rasool (sallallahu alayhi wa salam) said.

Stay tuned for the second part!

Wasalaamu Alaaikum

 

Day 21: Got Manners?!

Asalaamu Alaaikum

Do you know what the strangest (worst) combination is? A person who practices the Deen but has an awful character and/or bad manners. It just doesn’t make sense right? After all, good character and manners make up such a great portion of the Deen. You would think it would be a rarity to see a bad mannered Muslim with bad aakhlaq, sadly it is quite the opposite. More and more we see Muslims who don the right clothing, read the right kitaabs (books) and quote every hadith and ayah yet they constantly harm Muslims with their tongue. In fact, there are even leaders in the sphere of Dawah who exemplify the worst of character traits. These people have narcissistic tendencies, inflated egos and very loose tongues that inflict harm on Muslims, young and old alike. I will not name and shame, as this is not the point of my post. My goal is just to increase our awareness about the importance of manners and good character in our religion. Reflect on the following hadith:

Abu Darda reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Nothing is heavier upon the scale of the believer on the Day of Resurrection than his good character. Verily, Allah hates the shameless, obscene person.

Abu Sirmah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever harms others, then Allah will harm him. Whoever is harsh with others, then Allah will be harsh with him.”

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1940

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2002

Bullying, intimidation, harshness, rigidness, lack of compassion and mercy all go against the principles of our religion. If we have any character or personality trait or a frequent habit we engage in which opposes our Deen, we only have one option: to drop it! So for example, if we tend to have no filter when we speak, and thus say inappropriate comments or nitpick at peoples’ faults, this is something we need to rid ourselves of before it destroys us. Before we have to pay for it in this world and possibly the next. A famous, well-quoted hadith which is sadly overlooked in terms of implementation, details what will happen to a person who harmed Muslims with their tongue and hands on the Day of Judgement. One such unfortunate person will have all of their good deeds taken away by those they harmed and when their good deeds run out, they will be left with the sins of others! Imagine! A whole life of ibaadah and good deeds converted to sins! All because of the evil they created on earth with their tongue and limbs. I know we do not desire such an unfortunate end. This is a reminder to myself first that we should take great effort in refining our manners, controlling our tongues, perfecting our speech and getting rid of bad habits and traits which negatively impact those around us. For all the knowledge in the world will not benefit us, if that knowledge is not displayed in our manners and character. May Allaah grant us good akhlaaq and adaab! Ameen

Stay tuned for more reflections!

Wasalaamu Alaiakum

Day 20: The Best of the Best!

Asalaamu Alaaikum

Did we really reach the last ten days/nights? Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday that we welcomed this beautiful month. May Allaah accept all of our siyaam, qiyaam, ruku, sujood and duaa! Ameen. For the last ten days, I will focus on performing good deeds in general and the benefits derived from specific good deeds. I’ll start off with one of my favorite articles. It’s a collection of 100 hadith that touch on the common theme of the BEST actions to perform. I hope you take inspiration from it as you race for khayr during the last leg of this Ramadan marathon!

The Best of the Best

Source: SunnahOnline

Have you ever wondered to yourself what it actually means to be the best?

When we are told that ‘this is the best’ or ‘that was the greatest’ or ‘this will bring the most benefit’ etc, have you ever thought who on Earth gave such people/editors the authority to tell us that? In an age when we have a plethora of ‘Top 10’ or ‘Top 100’ lists on everything from cars to films, from foods to places, one wonders where is that list that will really provide some benefit to us in this current short life and the next very long one.

Well, wait no more. Below, from a choice of hundreds of narrations from our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, you can find 100 hadith, in no particular order of merit, detailing ways on exactly how to become the best, how to have the most excellent characteristics, what really will prove most beneficial for us to know, what really are the greatest things to think about and hope for and indeed, how to become the most beloved of people to our Magnificent Creator, Allah, the Most High.

No more subjectivity, no more empty statements; just the divine criteria of what really is the best as developed by the very best himself, Muhammad al-Mustapha, upon whom be peace. For an explanation of the meaning of each of these hadith, you can visit here.

So go on, don’t be ordinary. Don’t be common. Don’t be typical …

Be the best.

Sayyidina Muhammad, peace be upon him, told us:

  1. “The best of the Muslims is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe.” [Muslim]

  2. “The best of people are those with the most excellent character.” [Tabarani, Sahih]

  3. “The best of people are those that bring most benefit to the rest of mankind.” [Daraqutni, Hasan]

  4. “The best of people are those who are best in fulfilling [rights].” [Ibn Majah, Sahih]

  5. “The best of people during fitnah is a man who takes up the reins of his horse pursuing the enemies of Allah, causing them fear yet they make him fearful too, or a man who secludes himself in the desert fulfilling the rights of Allah upon him.” [Hakim, Sahih]

  6. “The best of mankind is my generation, then those that follow them and then those that follow them. Then there shall come a people after them who will become avaricious, who will love gluttony, and who will give witness before they are asked for it.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]

  7. “The best of people are those who live longest and excel in their deeds, whereas the worst of people are those who live longest and corrupt their deeds.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]

  8. “The best of women are those that please him [her husband] when he sees her, obeys him when she is commanded, and who does not secretly betray him with regards to herself and her money in that which he dislikes.” [Ahmad, Sahih]

  9. “The best of women are those that please you when you see them, obey you when commanded, and who safeguard themselves and your money in your absence.” [Tabarani, Sahih]

  10. “The best of marriages are the easiest ones.” [Abu Dawud, Sahih]

  11. “The best of your dates is the Borniyyu date; it expels disease yet does not contain any disease itself.” [Hakim, Hasan]

  12. “The best of your garments are those which are white; shroud your dead in them and clothe your living with them. The best of that which you apply to your eyelids is antimony causing the eyelashes to grow and sharpening the eyesight.” [Ibn Hibban, Sahih]

  13. “The best quality of your religion is scrupulousness.” [Hakim, Sahih]

  14. “The best of your religion is that which is easiest.” [Ahmad, Sahih]

  15. “The best of the prayer lines for men are the first rows, the worst being the final rows. The best of the prayer lines for women are the final rows and the worst are the first rows.” [Muslim]

  16. “The best prayers for women are those performed in the most secluded parts of their houses.” [Ibn Khuzaymah, Sahih]

  17. “The best of you in Islam are those who are most excellent in character as long as you deeply understand the religion.” [Ahmad, Sahih]

  18. “The best of you are the best of you in fulfilling [rights].” [Ahmad, Sahih]

  19. “The best of you are those who are best to their families, and I am the best of you to my family.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]

  20. “The best of you are my generation, then those that follow them and then those that follow them. Then there shall come after them a people who will betray and be untrustworthy, will give witness even though they have not been asked to, will make vows yet will not fulfil them and obesity will appear amongst them.” [Bukhari]

  21. “The best of you are those who feed others and return greetings.” [Abu Ya’la, Hasan]

  22. “The best of you is he from whom good is anticipated and safety from his evil is assured; the worst of you is he from whom nothing good is expected and one is not safe from his evil.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]

  23. “The best thing mankind has been given is excellent character.” [Hakim, Sahih]

  24. “The best of that which you treat yourself with is cupping.” [Hakim, Sahih]

  25. “The best of journeys undertaken are to this Mosque of mine and the Ancient House.” [Ahmad, Sahih]

  26. “The best of which man can leave behind for himself are three: a righteous child who supplicates for him, an ongoing charity whose reward continues to reach him and knowledge which others benefit from after him.” [Ibn Hibban, Hasan]

  27. “The best Mosques for women are the most secluded parts of their houses.” [Bayhaqi, Sahih]

  28. “The best of the world’s women are four: Maryam bint ‘Imran, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad and Asiyah the wife of Fir’awn.” [Ahmad, Sahih]

  29. “The best of days that you should perform cupping are the 17th, 19th and 21st of the month. I did not pass a single gathering of angels on the night of Isra’ except that they would say to me, ‘O Muhammad, perform cupping!’ “ [Ahmad, Sahih]

  30. “The best day on which the Sun has risen is Friday; on it Adam was created, on it Adam was made to enter Paradise and on it he was expelled. The Hour will not be established except on Friday.” [Muslim]

  31. “Verily, the best of perfume for men is that which is strong in smell and light in colour, and the best of perfume for women is that which is strong in colour and light in smell.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]

  32. “The most beloved of religions according to Allah the Most High is the ‘easy and flexible religion.’ “ [Ahmad, Hasan]

  33. “The most beloved of deeds according to Allah are the continuous ones, even if they are little.” [Agreed upon]

  34. “The most beloved of names according to Allah are ‘Abd Allah, ‘Abd’l-Rahman and Harith.” [Abu Ya’la, Sahih]

  35. “The most beloved of deeds according to Allah are the prayer in its right time, then to treat the parents in an excellent manner, and then Jihad in the path of Allah.” [Agreed upon]

  36. “The most beloved of deeds according to Allah is that you die and yet your tongue is still moist from the remembrance of Allah.” [Ibn Hibban, Hasan]

  37. “The most beloved words according to Allah the Most High are four: Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, La ilaha illallah and Allahu Akbar; there is no problem with which one you start with.” [Muslim]

  38. “The most beloved of speech according to Allah is when the servant says, ‘Subhanallahi wa bihamdihi’ [How Transcendent is Allah and we praise him!].” [Muslim]

  39. “The most beloved of speech according to Allah the Most High is that which Allah chose for his Angels: Subhana Rabbi wa bihamdihi, Subhana Rabbi wa bihamdihi, Subhana Rabbi wa bihamdihi.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]

  40. “The most beloved of people according to Allah is he who brings most benefit, and the most beloved of deeds according to Allah the Mighty, the Magnificent, is that you bring happiness to a fellow Muslim, or relieve him of distress, or pay off his debt or stave away hunger from him. It is more beloved to me that I walk with my brother Muslim in his time of need than I stay secluded in the mosque for a month. Whoever holds back his anger, Allah will cover his faults and whoever suppresses his fury while being able to execute it, Allah will fill his heart with satisfaction on the Day of Standing. Whoever walks with his brother Muslim in need until he establishes that for him, Allah will establish his feet firmly on the day when all feet shall slip. Indeed, bad character ruins deeds just as vinegar ruins honey.” [Tabarani, Hasan]

  41. “The most beloved of people to me is ‘A’ishah and from the men, Abu Bakr.” [Agreed upon]

  42. “The best of people in recitation are those who when they recite, you see that they fear Allah.” [Bayhaqi, Sahih]

  43. “The best of your leaders are those that you love and they love you, you supplicate for them and they supplicate for you. The worst of your leaders are those that you hate and they hate you, you curse them and they curse you.” [Muslim]

  44. “The best of you are those who are best in paying off their debts.” [Tahawi, Sahih]

  45. “The best of you are those with the longest lives and most excellent character.” [Bazzar, Sahih]

  46. “The best of you are those with the longest lives and best in action.” [Hakim, Sahih]

  47. “The best of you are those with the softest shoulders during prayer.” [Bayhaqi, Hasan]

  48. “The best of you are those who are best to their wives.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]

  49. “The best of you are those who are best to their families.” [Tabarani, Sahih]

  50. “The best of you during the ‘Period of Ignorance’ are the best of you in Islam as long as they deeply understand the religion.” [Bukhari]

  51. “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” [Darimi, Sahih]

  52. “The best of companions according to Allah are those who are best to their companion and the best of neighbours according to Allah are those that are best to their neighbour.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]

  53. “The best of places are the Mosques and the worst of places are the markets.” [Tabarani, Hasan]

  54. “The best supplication on the Day of ‘Arafah and the best thing that I and the Prophets before me ever said was, ‘La ilaha illAllah wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’l-hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in Qadir.’ “ [Tirmidhi, Hasan]

  55. “The best of provision is that which suffices.” [Ahmad in ‘Zuhd‘, Hasan]

  56. “The best testimony is when one gives it before he is asked to do so.” [Tabarani, Sahih]

  57. “The best of dowries are the easiest.” [Hakim, Sahih]

  58. “The best of charity is that which still leaves you self-sufficient for the upper hand is better than the lower hand; start with those you are responsible for.” [Tabarani, Sahih]

  59. “The best of gatherings are those that are most open.” [Abu Dawud, Sahih]

  60. “The most beloved deed according to Allah is to have faith in Allah, then to maintain the ties of kinship, and then to command to good and forbid the wrong. The most abhorrent of deeds according to Allah is to associate partners with Him, then to cut the ties of kinship.” [Abu Ya’la, Hasan]

  61. “The most beloved Jihad according to Allah is that a word of truth be spoken to a tyrant ruler.” [Tabarani, Hasan]

  62. “The most beloved word according to me is that which is most truthful.” [Bukhari]

  63. “The most beloved fast according to Allah is the fast of Dawud; he would fast every alternate day. The most beloved prayer according to Allah is the prayer of Dawud; he would sleep half the night, stand a third and then sleep for a sixth.” [Agreed upon]

  64. “The most beloved dish according to Allah is that which most hands feed from.” [Ibn Hibban, Hasan]

  65. “The most beloved servant of Allah is he who is most beneficial to his dependents.” [Zawa’id az-Zuhd, Hasan]

  66. “The best of earnings is that of the labourer as long as he tries his best.” [Ahmad, Hasan]

  67. “The best of all deeds is to have faith in Allah alone, then Jihad and then an accepted Hajj; they surpass all other deeds like the distance between the rising and setting of the Sun.” [Ahmad, Sahih]

  68. “The best of all deeds is the Prayer at its earliest time.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]

  69. “The best of all deeds is the Prayer in its right time, to treat the Parents honourably and Jihad in the path of Allah.” [Al-Khatib, Sahih]

  70. “The best of all deeds is that you bring happiness to your Muslim brother, pay off his debt or feed him bread.” [Ibn Adiyy, Hasan]

  71. “The best of faith is patience and magnanimity.” [Ahmad, Sahih]

  72. “The best of days according to Allah is Friday.” [Bayhaqi, Sahih]

  73. “The best of Jihad is that man strives against his soul and desires.” [Daylami, Sahih]

  74. “The best Hajj is that with the most raised voices and flowing blood.” [Tirmidhi, Hasan]

  75. “The best of supplications is that of on the Day of ‘Arafah, and the best thing that was said by myself and the Prophets before me was, “La ilaha illallah wahdahu la sharika lahu.” [There is nothing worthy of worship except Allah alone, He has no partners.] [Malik, Hasan]

  76. “The best of dinars are: the dinar spent by a man upon his dependents, the dinar spent by a man upon his horse in the path of Allah and the dinar spent by a man upon his companions in the path of Allah, the Mighty, the Magnificent.” [Muslim]

  77. “The best word of remembrance is: La ilaha illallah and the best supplication is: Alhamdulillah.” [Tirmidhi, Hasan]

  78. “The best word of remembrance is: La ilaha illallah and the best [expression of giving] thanks is: Alhamdulillah.” [Baghawi, Hasan]

  79. “The best of hours are those deep in the latter part of the night.” [Tabarani, Sahih]

  80. “The best of all martyrs are those who fight in the front line; they do not turn their faces away until they are killed. They will be rolling around in the highest rooms of Paradise, their Lord laughing at them – when your Lord laughs at a servant, there is no accounting for him.” [Ahmad, Sahih]

  81. “The best of all martyrs is he whose blood is shed and whose horse is slaughtered.” [Tabarani, Sahih]

  82. “The best of all charity is the shade of a canopy [provided] in the path of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, to gift ones servant in the path of Allah and to gift ones she-camel in the path of Allah.” [Ahmad, Hasan]

  83. “The best of all charity is that which is given to the relative that harbours enmity against you.” [Ahmad, Sahih]

  84. “The best of all charity is that you give it while you are healthy and desirous [of that money], hoping to become wealthy but fearing poverty. Don’t delay until you are about to breathe your last and then you say, ‘This is for ‘so and so’ and this is for ‘so and so”, for indeed, it has already been written that ‘so and so’ would receive that.” [Abu Dawud, Sahih]

  85. “The best of all charity is when the one with little strives to give; start with those you are responsible for.” [Hakim, Sahih]

  86. “The best charity is to provide water.” [Ibn Majah, Hasan]

  87. “The best prayer after the obligatory ones is the prayer in the depth of the night, and the best fast after the month of Ramadhan is the month of Allah, Muharram.” [Muslim]

  88. “The best prayer is the prayer of the man in his home except for the obligatory prayer.” [Nasa’i, Sahih]

  89. “The best prayer is that with the longest standing.” [Muslim]

  90. “The best of all prayers according to Allah is the Friday morning prayer in congregation.” [Ibn Nu’aym, Sahih]

  91. “The best fast is the fast of my brother Dawud; he would fast every alternate day and he would never flee [the battlefront] when the armies would meet.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]

  92. “The best of all fasts after Ramadhan is in the month that you call Muharram.” [Nasa’i, Sahih]

  93. “The best of all worship is supplication.” [Hakim, Sahih]

  94. “The best deed is the prayer in its right time and Jihad in the path of Allah.” [Bayhaqi, Sahih]

  95. “The best of the Qur’an is: ‘Alhamdulillahi Rabb’l-‘Alamin.’ [Hakim, Sahih]

  96. “The best of earnings is a blessed sale and that which a man earns with his hands.” [Ahmad, Sahih]

  97. “The best of the Believers is the most excellent of them in character.” [Ibn Majah, Sahih]

  98. “The best of the Believers with respect to Islam is the one from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe; and the best of the Believers with respect to Iman are the most excellent of them in character; and the best of those who migrate is he who migrates from that which Allah the Most High has prohibited; and the best of Jihad is when one strives against his soul for the sake of Allah, the Mighty, the Magnificent.” [Tabarani, Sahih]

  99. “The best of mankind is the believer between two honourable persons.” [Tabarani, Sahih]

  100. “The best of all days in the world are the ten days [of Dhul Hijjah].” [Bazzar, Sahih]

Stay tuned for more reflections!

Wasalamu Alaaikum