Friday, 17 October 2014

Preparing ourselves for the hereafter

Praise be to Allah who said:  “And for those who fear the time when they will be standing before their Lord, there shall be two gardens (in Paradise).” [Surah al-Rahman:46]

May Allah bestow His peace and blessings on His prophet who said:  “If you knew what I know, you would laugh little and weep much.  [Sahih al-Bukhari (4621, 6486, 7295) and Sahih Muslim (2359)] And may Allah be pleased with the Companions who wept upon hearing this hadith.

It is right for us to have fear of that day that we all have to face.  That Day of Resurrection is a day of distress and deep regret.  It is that long and ominous Day in which all humanity will stand before their Lord.  On that day, fear will make the pregnant woman miscarry.  People will be as if they are drunk but they shall not be drunk but the severity of Allah’s punishment will make them that way.  On that day, fear will make the hair on the heads of small children turn grey.

We should seriously start to prepare ourselves for that day, since it is the crossroads on the long journey of our existence.  From there, we will head either to Paradise or to the Hellfire.  Those who enter paradise will dwell therein for all eternity in perpetual happiness and enjoyment, while those who go to Hell will face torture, and the inhabitants of Hell will find to their distress that they have eternal lives as well.

We must, however have an optimistic outlook regarding our Lord.  His Mercy is truly vast for those who believe in Him and worship Him sincerely and it always takes precedence to His wrath.  The Prophet (peace be upon him) has told us that Allah is more merciful to us than a devoted mother is to her newborn child. [Sahih al-Bukhari (5999) and Sahih Muslim (2754)]

The fear that we have of the Day of Resurrection should motivate us to be more devoted in worship and more ready to engage in good deeds.  We should pray and fast more often and renew our efforts to make pilgrimage.  We should be good to our families and show kindness to our parents.  There are many different ways to do good.

This same fear should help us to abstain from sinful acts and disobedience to Allah.  This fear then will actually have a positive effect on us.  It is not a negative fear that will make us inactive and despair of Allah’s mercy.

The following activities are very helpful in helping a Muslim prepare for that dreadful day, “a day wherein they will be brought forth and nothing about them will be hidden from Allah.” [Surah Ghafir: 16]

1. We should read the Qur'an and contemplate its meanings.  We should consider its rulings and appreciate the good that it promises us as well as the warnings that it gives us.

2. We should read about the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him).  We should study how he conducted himself in obedience to Allah and how he abstained from overindulgence in worldly pleasures.

3. We should likewise read the biographies of the Companions and those who followed after them and look at how they strove to attain success in the Hereafter.

4. We should often contemplate the inevitability of death.  We should be aware of the trials that follow in the grave and during the resurrection.  We should visualize ourselves standing before Allah, the most scrupulous and Just of judges.  We should think about the bridge that we will have to cross in order to attain salvation, a bridge from which many will slip and fall to their destruction.  We should think about the joy that will be experienced by the people of Paradise and the suffering and sorrow of the inhabitants of Hell.

We need to always keep in mind that death can come to us at any moment.  How do we wish to meet our Lord?  Do we wish to do so in a state of grace and obedience or would we like to do so while engaged in sin?  Ibn`Umar relates to us that the prophet (peace be upon him) once put his hand on his shoulder and said to him: “Be in the world as if you are a wayfarer or a stranger passing through.”  Because of this, Ibn`Umar would often say: “When night falls, do not look forward to the dawn and when day breaks do not anticipate the night.  Take full advantage of your health before you succumb to illness and of your life before death overtakes you.” [Sahih al-Bukhari (6416)]

5. We need to seriously study to acquire Islamic knowledge.  When we acquire more knowledge of our religion, we become more aware of Allah and more God-fearing. Allah says: “The only people who fear Allah from among His servants are those who possess knowledge.”

6. We should keep company with pious people, especially those who have good Islamic knowledge and those who are engaged in calling others to Islam.  Likewise, we should avoid the company of sinful and dishonest people.  Good company helps us to purify our hearts.  We also find support in such people for our efforts to do what is right.  Conversely bad company hardens our heart.  Immoral people encourage us to do immoral things.  Also when our hearts become hardened, we become far away from Allah and more attached to worldly things.

7. We should always keep in mind that this world is a transient place.  Those who enjoy the pleasures of this world will not be able to take those pleasures with them.  They have only their deeds to send before them.  Allah says: “On the Day when every soul will find itself confronted with all that it has done of good and all that it has done of evil, and every soul will long that there might be a mighty space of distance between it and that evil.  Allah bids you beware of Him.  And Allah is full of pity for His servants.” [Surah Al Imran: 30]

No matter how great this world may seem to us, it is in truth quite insignificant.  No matter how enduring it may appear right now, it is as fleeting as a night that must end at the next sunrise.  Our worldly lives will come to an end at the grave.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The life of this world compared to the Hereafter is as if one of you were to put his finger in the ocean and take it out again then compare the water that remains on his finger to the water that remains in the ocean.” [Sahih Muslim(2858)]

8. Lastly, we must spend more time in sincere supplication to our Lord.  We should ask Him to make the Hereafter dearer to us and to make us less fond of the world.  We should beseech Him to grant us Paradise with all of its delights and to spare us His wrath.  Truly, Allah hears and answers our prayers.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Love of the Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)

Love for the Messenger
(sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)

It is related in the Sahihain of al-Bukhari and Muslim, rahimahumallaah, from Anas, radhiallahu `anhu, that the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: “None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his father, his child and all of mankind.”

And in the same sources we find that `Umar ibn al Khattab, radhiallahu `anhu, said to Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, “O Rasoolullah, you are more beloved to me than anything except my own self.” Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, then told him, “No, by the One in Whose Hand is my soul, not until I am more beloved to you than your own soul.”`Umar then told him, “By Allah, now you are more beloved to me than my own soul.” Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, then told him that now he had the complete and correct faith.

Ibn Rajab says about love of the Messenger sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam: Love for the Messenger sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam is at two levels.

The first level is obligatory. This is the love that requires one to accept whatever the Messenger sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam brought from Allah and to receive it with love, pleasure, esteem and submission, without seeking guidance from any other source whatsoever. This is then followed by excellent following of him in whatever he conveyed from his Lord and to affirm whatever he has reported of obligations, to remain away from anything he has prohibited of forbidden acts, to give support for his religion and to strive against those who oppose him according to one’s ability. All of this are necessary components that one must possess and a person’s Faith is not complete without them.

The second level is superior. This type of love requires following his example in an excellent way and fulfilling the following of his Sunnah with respect to his behavior, manners, voluntary deeds, superogatory actions, eating, drinking, dressing, excellent behaviour with his wives and other aspects of his perfect manners and pure behavior. It also includes learning about his life and days. It also includes the heart trembling when mentioning him, saying prayers and blessings upon him often out of what resides in the heart of love for him, esteem for him and respect for him. It also includes loving to listen to his words and preferring them over the words of others of the creation. And one of the greatest aspects of this love is to follow him in his abstinence of this world, his being suffices with a little and his turning to and desiring of the everlasting Hereafter.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

On the Importance of Tawheed
Verily, Allah has created the world and everything in it in order to worship Him alone. He sent the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) to call the people to Tawheed and the Noble Quran is concerned with the aqeedah of tawheed in most of its chapters and it explains the harm of shirk for the individual and the society. Shirk is the reason for destruction in this life and the reason for eternal destruction in the Fire of the Hereafter.

Verily, all the Messengers began their call with Tawheed, which they were commanded by Allah to convey it to the people. He, the Most High, said:
"We have not sent before you from the Messengers, except We inspired to him that He is the only One worthy of worship, so worship Him." [21:25]

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) stayed in Makkah for thirteen years while he called his people to the Tawheed of Allah and he called to Him alone without associating anything with Him. It was regarding this issue that Allah revealed the following verse to His Noble Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salaam):
"Say: Verily I call to my Lord and I do not ascribe any partners to Him at all." [72:20]

The Noble Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) brought up his followers upon Tawheed from the time of childhood and he (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) said to the son of his uncle, his cousin 'Abdullaah ibn 'Abbaas: "When you ask, then ask Allah, and when you seek help, then seek help from Allah." [Hasan Saheeh, Tirmidhi]. This Tawheed is in reality the religion of Islam, which is built upon it, and anything other than it is not accepted by Allah.

Verily, the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) taught his Companions to begin their call to the people with tawheed, so he (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) said to Mu'aadh ibn Jabal, when he (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa salaam) sent him to Yemen: "So let the first thing you call them to, be the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah." And in another narration: "...that they worship Allah alone." [Bukhari and Muslim]

Tawheed is embodied in the testification that "None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." Its meaning is that there is no one who is worthy of deserving worship except Allah, and there is no worship except that which the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) came with. It is this testification which allows a unbeliever to enter into Islam, since it is the key to Paradise, and the one who testifies to it and believes it enters into Paradise as long as he does not invalidate it by shirk or a word of disbelief.

The disbelieving Quraish offered the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa salaam) kingship, wealth and wives and other than that from the pleasures of this life in exchange for him abandon the call to tawheed, and abandon the attacks against the idols. However, he did not desire that from them, rather he (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) continued his call and endured the onslaught along with his Companions, until the call to tawheed was victorious after Makkah was conquered and the idols were destroyed. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa salaam) recited,
"Truth has come and falsehood has vanished, surely falsehood is ever bound to vanish." [17:81]

Tawheed is the preoccupation of a Muslim in his life, so he begins his life with Tawheed and he ends his life with Tawheed. His task in life is to establish Tawheed and the call to Tawheed, since Tawheed unifies the believers and gathers them upon the statement of Tawheed. So we ask Allah to make the statement of Tawheed (Laa ilaaha lila Allah) our last words in this world and we ask Him to gather the Muslims upon the statement of Tawheed - Ameen.