The Deen (Religion) is Ease

Notes from Bukhari: Part I

How many times have you heard someone say practising Islam or being a ‘religious’ Muslim is difficult? Reflect on the following. Imam al-Bukhari in his Sahih relates the following hadith(record of the words of the Prophet ﷺ, peace be upon him) in the chapter On The Deen Being Ease.

It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The deen is ease. Whoever makes the deen too hard for himself will be overpowered, so direct yourselves to what is right, follow a middle course, accept the good news of the reward for right action, and seek help [to reach your goal by being constant in worshipping] in the morning, evening and some of the night.” (Hadith no. 39)
“The deen is ease.”
Word Analysis:
deen = Obedience, a state of abasement and submissiveness.

In the hadith, al-deen is referring to Islam as the means or the vehicle by which one is obedient and in a state of humble submission to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (exalted is He). It is synonymous with shari`ah (law) and includes both Islam (i.e. practice) and Iman (faith).
yusr (ease / easy) = ease, facilitation without constriction.

Commentary:
Ibn Abi Jamrah in his commentary of the abridged Sahih of al-Bukhari, Bahjat al-Nufus, highlights a number of ways the statement ‘The deen is ease’ can be understood and demonstrated. Some of them are as follows.

1. Deen here can be understood as both Iman and Islam together. Iman (faith) is ‘easy’ in the sense that it is straightforward without any complexities. This is demonstrated in the hadith where the Prophet ﷺ tests the slave girl to see whether or not she is a Muslim. He was satisfied by her action of simply pointing to the sky to indicate that Allah (swt) is above his creation and by her attesting to the fact that he was the Messenger of Allah. As for the ease in Islam, the practice, this is demonstrated by the famous hadith where a person asks the Prophet ﷺ about the obligations of Islam and the Prophet ﷺ tells him about the five obligatory prayers, the obligatory fast of Ramadan and the obligatoryzakat (charity). Each time the person asked if there was anything more than the obligatory prayer, fasting and zakat the Prophet ﷺ replied that there wasn’t unless he wanted to do something extra voluntarily. While the person was leaving he said to himself, by Allah I will not increase nor decrease from that. The Prophet ﷺ said he has succeeded if he is truthful.
2. The ease here could be referring to what you have been given as a deen compared to the previous nations and the fact that you have only been obligated with that which you have the capacity to do. Allah (swt) has removed the burdens that were in the shari`ah of the previous nations from this ummah (community). For instance, the process of repentance for this ummah is made by regret, giving up the sin and seeking forgiveness whereas for some previous nations repentance was through capital punishment (for some sins). Another example is that unlawful things for us have been made lawful in times of necessity whereas this was not the case for previous nations. Also the fact that Allah (swt) has only burdened us with obligations that we have the physical and intellectual capacity to fulfil, for if he did burden us with something beyond our capacity, it still would have been acceptable as He is all Wise and the Omnipotent whose decisions none can overturn. Therefore it is from His favour and bounty that He has forgiven us and only made us responsible according to our capacity. As He says in the Qur’an: Allah does not burden the soul beyond its capacity (2:286). Therefore the one who is made responsible for that which one had the capacity to bear then that is from ease and not from hardship.
3. The ease here could be that deen is easy for the one who has knowledge of the deen and it is difficult for the one that is ignorant of the deen.
4. The ease referred to here could be the fact that the legal texts that imply an obligation without any room for other interpretations are few in number. The vast majority of legal texts are open to different interpretations (that lead to more than one valid legal option) and therefore this is ease and flexibility from the Master to His servants.
5. The ease referred to here could be to shorten one’s hopes, because shortening one’s hopes is amongst the causes that assist one in the deen so that the deen becomes easy. This is due to the fact that when one’s hopes are shortened covetousness is reduced, zuhd (detachment from unnecessary things) becomes easy and performing good deeds becomes light. This is similar to what the Prophet ﷺ mentioned: “When one of you wakes up in the morning, do not expect (to live) till the evening and when one of you goes to sleep in the evening do not expect (to live) till the morning.”
6. The ease referred to here could be to perform good deeds in reverence to the rights due to Allah (swt) since the deenbelongs completely to Allah. When one does this the deen becomes easy due to the sweetness of obedience, performing deeds become effortless, and in fact, one is nourished by the deeds performed for the sake of Allah (swt).

Source : http://www.suhaibwebb.com

A Letter on Preparing for Death

This is  actually a short letter of advice and wisdom on preparing for death translated from Arabic to English. The letter was written by Imam Al Ghazali in a concise and almost simplistic style, though the message imparted was one of great spiritual depths.  May Allah make us among those who experience that state, and who ready and beautify themselves properly for the journey to His Divine Presence, Ameen.

[I begin] with the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Loving. We rely on Him, and seek help from Him alone. All praise is due to Allah, and may blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah Muhammad, his family, and his companions one and all. Allah the Exalted said, “Is one whose chest Allah has opened to Islam [sharaha Allahu sadrahu] so that he has received light from his Lord (no better than one hard-hearted)?” (Qur’an, 39:22) The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked about sharh as-sadr and he said, “It is a light cast into the heart by which the chest is opened and expanded.” He ﷺ was asked, “Is there a way of recognizing one who possesses that light?” He ﷺ responded, “Yes. [Such people can be recognized by their] indifference towards the abode of delusions [i.e., the life of this world], their constant turning towards the abode of eternity [the hereafter], and their preparation for death before it arrives.” He was asked, “How does one prepare for death?” He ﷺ said, “Those of you who remember it the most are the best prepared for it.” — You have asked – may Allah grant you success – about readiness for death, and the conditions and means [of attaining that spiritual state]. When is a servant (of God) ready for death? What should one strive to achieve so that he or she is fully prepared for this path? Know that death is an expression used for the journey from this world to the Divine Presence, for to Allah is the ultimate return. Anyone traveling to a royal court is in need of three things for his journey: a severing of the ties that keep him from advancing; a preparation of provisions for the road; and an acceptable gift for the king, to present to him and by which to attain his pleasure. Similarly, the traveler journeying to the Divine Presence is in need of three things: preparation of his provisions, a cutting of ties, and the offering of a gift. The traveler’s provision refers to a deep consciousness of God (taqwa). Allah says, “…And take a provision with you for the journey, but the best of provisions is taqwa.” (Qur’an, 2:197) The cutting of ties means a severing of the heart from the pleasures of this world. This is what was meant by the Prophet’s ﷺ words, “an indifference towards the abode of delusions”. The gift to be presented to the King is love, the origin of which is in true gnosis (ma’rifah) and faith (iman). We will explain these three essential matters in further detail.

1. Provisions for the Road

There is no provision for the journey to the hereafter except taqwa. Taqwa means obeying the commandments of Allah Most High and avoiding that which He has prohibited to such an extent that one fulfills all of Allah’s commandments and remains far removed from all of His prohibitions. If one has always done so, then this is a type of excellence and inner strength that is without equal. If, however, a person has some deficiencies in this matter, then he or she will not be ready [for the hereafter] except by rectifying them. This can be done by analyzing and reflecting on one’s state from when one first reached the age of legal responsibility (bulugh). The servant must then busy himself with making up for what has passed, and seek to correct those matters in which one had erred.

In regards to the commandments of Allah, the servant should begin with the fundamental pillars of Islam, such as the ritual prayer, the poor-due and the pilgrimage. If one finds a shortcoming in his or her performance of one of these acts, one should seek to remove the burden of responsibility from oneself by making up for them. One should continue doing so until he or she is certain that no obligation remains undone. As for the prohibitions, [they are of two types]. The first type is entirely related to the rights of Allah [and not the rights of other people], such as fornication, drinking alcohol, listening to musical instruments, and engaging in [other] forbidden acts. [Disobeying a prohibition of this type] can be remedied by sincerely repenting, feeling intense regret for the sin, seeking Allah’s forgiveness and pardon, and resolving strongly and with determination to never return to it again. [Know that] sincere repentance is a remedy for every sin, and a penitent person is like one who has not sinned at all. The second type of prohibition is related to the rights of other servants, such as wronging someone in terms of wealth or reputation. [Violating a prohibition of this type] can be rectified by giving the oppressed person back his or her due right. The servant should seek to do this in all of one’s dealings with others, and should scrutinize personal relationships carefully [to make sure that one has not been unjust to others]. One should seek to liberate himself from others’ rights upon him by returning what is in one’s possession of their wealth, compensating for what one may have consumed from it, and making amends for backbiting or speaking ill of others. This type of harmful speech is a great wrong, and a person cannot be freed from it except by [seeking the pardon of] the oppressed. The servant must ask forgiveness from every person he has harmed in his life through backbiting or other hurtful words. If a person who has been wronged refuses, then one should be kind to him so that his heart will eventually lean towards forgiveness. If the oppressed person passes away or becomes otherwise unreachable, the servant should increase in good deeds until he has performed an amount that he believes would be sufficient for the oppressed if it went to him on the Day of Judgment. Know that sufficient provision for this journey is in obeying Allah’s commands, abstaining from His prohibitions, and striving to perform numerous extra good deeds. Good works are a means of elevating one’s spiritual rank. The more good deeds one performs, the more one increases in safety and faith. In conclusion, provision for this journey consists of commission or omission of acts in accordance to Allah’s commands and prohibitions.

2. Severing the Ties that Prevent One from Advancing

A traveler may be tied down by his or her debtors, as if they were holding on to the very tails of his clothing and preventing him from moving towards his destination. In order to advance on his journey, the traveler must [free himself from them] and break all ties with them. Similarly, the attachments that prevent one from journeying towards the hereafter are numerous. Yet all of them are connected to the love of this world, longing for it, and the inclination of the lower self towards it. One who has no beloved in this world is completely ready for death. One who loves someone in this world, but finds that the love for Allah is stronger and more intense in his heart is also ready, though his level is not like that of the former. A sign that a servant has true love for Allah is that he or she does not have any feeling of dislike towards death, no matter when it may come. An aversion to death is a sign that this world and one’s status in it is more beloved to a person [than meeting Allah in the hereafter]. One who dislikes death because he has not yet rectified the wrongs he has committed against others or overcome weaknesses within himself may be excused for his dislike, however, this servant cannot be considered ready [for the journey ahead]. One who is ready would have already exerted himself in these matters, and would not have left any task undone that would distract and busy his heart. Disconnecting one’s heart from the life of this world is not fully achieved unless one also possesses a balanced character and a sound and upright heart. This occurs by purifying the heart from ostentation, envy, hatred, arrogance, and all of the negative qualities that we have mentioned in our work al-Muhlikaat (in the third section of Ihya Ulum ad-Din). These are the ailments of the heart [that must be cured], for an ill person is not one prepared for travel. It is not a requirement that the servant be entirely free of these negative qualities, but that they remain weak inside a person and are not intensified by actions or words that are contrary to the path of God-consciousness. The Prophet ﷺ said: “The child of Adam will never be safe from three things: envy, fearing evil omens, and having bad opinions of others. I will inform you of a means of escaping from them. If you feel envious towards someone, do not seek to attain what he or she has. If you observe an omen said to be evil, continue without any change in your behavior. And if you think ill of someone, do not try to confirm your thoughts [by discussing them with others.]” Thus removing these elements entirely from one’s inner self is not a necessary condition for being saved. It suffices that one does not manifest them by acting in accordance to them. A balanced character is what is really essential, and is what is meant by the expression khuluq al-hasan. One does not attain such character except through struggle, hard work, and recognition of the areas in which one has been self-deluded. All of the [negative] qualities we have mentioned here are produced by love of this world. If a servant realizes that the hereafter is better and everlasting he or she would certainly prefer it over the life of this world. Such a realization is a fruit of this knowledge, and such knowledge is what comprises the branches of faith.

3. Presenting a Gift to Allah Most High

The gift [that a traveler to the hereafter should prepare to present to the Divine] is faith (iman) that engenders love for Allah Most High. We mean here by faith a gnosis (ma’rifa) that overwhelms the servant completely and overtakes his heart entirely, until it is as if the servant actually sees Him. Faith then becomes something vital to the heart, persistent and constant in it, to such an extent that nothing comes to the servant’s mind except Allah, neither in deeply-rooted thoughts nor in fleeting ones. [A constant awareness and focus on Allah, to the extent that not even a fleeting thought enters one’s mind] is the highest state [of faith].

The first [and lowest] level of faith is like believing that someone named Zaid is inside a house because one has been told so by a person one trusts. The second level is like believing Zaid is inside because one hears the sound of his voice. The third [and highest level] is like actually seeing him. Each level produces an increased amount of happiness and delight [for the servant, as compared to the one lower than it]. These feelings cannot be precisely described [but can only be experienced with the heart]. Such are the varying degrees of faith. As for the branches of faith, they are numerous, while its roots are three: to have belief in Allah, belief in the Last Day, and belief in the truthfulness of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. Complete faith in Allah includes belief in His attributes as they are elucidated in the Quran without being combined with innovations, uncertainty, wavering or doubt. One should believe that He has perfect knowledge and absolute ability, that His will is always realized and effectual [with no exceptions], and one should affirm with certainty whatever one can of His noble attributes. One should believe in regards to the Last Day that one will be recompensed in accordance to one’s actions, rewarded for obedience [to Allah] and punished for disobedience. [If one understands and believes this,] then this suffices for the servant, and it is not obligatory upon him or her to know more details [of the Day of Judgment than this]. One should believe that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was truthful in everything that he taught. If one believes in this, even if one does not know his ﷺ teachings in detail other than what is obligatory, it suffices for the servant. –– This is what it means to prepare for death; and Allah grants success to those who seek to ready themselves [for the journey ahead]. To Allah belongs success and protection. All praise is due to Allah in the beginning and the end, and may peace and blessings be upon the Noble Messenger Muhammad, his family and companions. –-– This letter was completed by Allah’s help and good favor, and may blessings be upon Muhammad and his family.

By the Imam Hujjat al-Islam (The Proof of Islam) Muhammad bin Muhammad Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

Translated by : SHAZIA AHMAD

source  :  www.suhaibwebb.com

From Facebook to God’s Book

Many of us have addictive relationship with Facebook.  We check our accounts compulsively, multiple times a day.  It is sometimes the last thing many of us do before we sleep and the first thing we do when we wake up; time flies when we’re on it, and it is obsessive.

Yet how many of us have an addictive relationship—have any relationship—with the Qur’an? This is the Book that transformed alcoholic, oppressive, baby-girl-burying people into callers for justice, defenders of the oppressed, soft-hearted, humble worshippers of the Lord of All the Worlds. If what is contained in this Book brought eternal peace to the hearts and freedom to the souls who were chained to the whims of their own desires, it undoubtedly can emancipate us from our own problems, heartaches and stresses. However, its ability to powerfully impact us may go a lifetime unrealized if we continue to decide that other relationships are more important.

Some of us want to establish a relationship with the Qur’an, but may find it… boring, difficult to understand, or simply not fast enough. We’re used to status updates, pictures and vivid virtual conversations. We prefer fun captions and vivacious images. We prefer real people, an interchange of words and tangible friendships—or at least, Facebook friendships. A lot of us don’t even really know the people we add as friends.

In reality, what we prefer is what the Qur`an already offers and more; it’s just up to us to experience the paradigm shift, with God’s help. Here are a few ways we can tangibly work to establish our relationships with the Qur’an and in doing so, elevate ourselves in this life and in the Next, by the will of God.

From Facebook to God’s Book

What is it about Facebook or other forms of social or popular media that makes you come back, over and over, sometimes multiple times a day—at a minimum? Is it the novelty of reading ever-changing statuses or finding new pictures? Is it feeling appreciated when others comment on your posts? Is it the fun of having instantaneous connections? Is it just boredom? Whatever it is, identify why you keep going back. Then, tweak your reasons for that connection and apply it to the Qur’an.

When you read stories about Noah, Moses, Jesus, Mary, Lot—when you read about their struggles or the people who they called to the worship of God, recognize those as the Qur’an’s updates. The conversations that God quotes in the Qur’an, the arguments of the people to their Messengers, those are all comments to posts in the Qur’an’s feed.

Mary `alayha assalaam (peace be upon her) says something, then God Almighty responds. Jesus `alayhi assalaam (peace be upon him) tells his disciples something and they all start tweeting him back. Moses (as) posts on Pharaoh’s wall, Pharaoh responds with his henchman and is finally completely deleted from Facebook—and the world—in its entirety. God’s Book is more intense, exciting and novel than anything on Facebook. We just need to add it and tag it as our Best Friend.

Sometimes we find Facebook addicting because of our ability to interact with our friends. So let’s find the Qur`an addicting because of our ability to interact with God. When reading God’s Book and you want to like something, say alhamdulilah (all praise is to God)! You’ll get rewards and be increased in what’s good (Qur`an 14:7).  When you personally want to respond to a status, put up your hands and make du`a’ (supplication)! Instead of aimlessly commenting, you’ll be strengthening your connection with the One Who can hook it up for you, Who can hear you and will answer you! When you read the descriptions of Paradise and Hell, know that Allah Most High is uploading images for you to focus on and be impacted by; when you’re captivated or horrified by the image, comment through your actions! Do the actions which will include you amongst the chillers in Paradise and keep you from being in the excruciating fire. That type of commenting will bring everlasting results in this life and the Next and, God willing, Allah subahanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) will tag you as His homies in this life and the Hereafter.

Make the Qur`an Our Best Friend

Oftentimes, when we’re sad or lonely, when we’re bursting with joy or excitement, when we’re apathetic or just need some down time, we post it. We let everyone know how we’re feeling, what we’re thinking, something that went down in our day or what we wished didn’t go down. We often treat Facebook as a best friend; checking it and reconnecting frequently. Here’s our opportunity to start shifting that connection; let’s start calling Allah’s Book our BEST FRIEND. With ourselves, let’s start using the term, “Best Friend,” for the Qur’an.

If you have a human best friend, think about the way you run to answer their call when you know they’re about to tell you the outcome of a life-changing decision. Think about the way you laugh when you’re chilling together at the beach or having a conversation over dinner. Think about the way that you dial their number before anyone else’s, knowing almost with certainty that they will pick up the phone and be there for your comfort.

Now, apply that same understanding of your best friend relationship to the Qur’an. If you take the Qur’an as your Best Friend, you’ll run to it when you see it near, knowing it’s calling you, ready to listen to whatever it wants to share for your own benefit, guidance and happiness. When you’re distraught, feeling lonely or at loss, you’ll go to your Best Friend, hold it to your heart, open it and begin reading it, reciting from it, reveling in its mind-blowing empathy, its heart-warming sympathy, it’s perfection of wisdom which relates directly to your situations. When you’re excited beyond measure; ready to jump through the roof because you finally got into that school, got that job, regained your health, going to get married to your dream person or had the blessing of your child, you’re going to pick it up and shed tears of joy or words of elation with it, knowing that in reality, you’re going back to the One Who gave you all that you’re excited about in the first place.

Making the Qur’an your best friend begins with a paradigm shift; this is not simply a Holy Book; it’s the pinnacle of your life, it’s your first supporter, your constant companion, your guide, the keeper of your secrets—it’s your Best Friend.

Building Our Relationship

Having taken the Qur’an as a best friend, we must also make a commitment to building our relationship with it. Best friends don’t happen overnight; we become continuously attached to the person we’ve already connected with because of our consistent ability to reconnect and re-align. So too, with the Qur’an. The Qur’an is always there, waiting to be your closest homie! Why? Because when we establish a relationship with the Qur’an, we are, in reality, establishing a relationship with the One Who created us and knows us best. He tells us, “I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed,” (Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari). When we think about God, when we make an effort to draw nearer to Him, He comes to us with speed. Therefore, let us run to Him through our relationship with the Qur’an!

Set a certain amount of Qur’an that we must read, regardless of the circumstances, every day. Make sure this amount is in a language that we understand. If we can read Arabic and understand some of it, then read the Arabic but also read a translation. Allah (swt) revealed the Qur’an in the language of the Arabs for them to understand it so that they can live by and be transformed by it. Thus, read it in a language that will impact your life, and do it daily. From 20 pages to only 1 verse, do whatever amount you can do consistently and stick with it because the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) taught us that the best actions are those that are small, but consistent (Bukhari). Reading the Qur’an daily, year-round, is better than reading a ton only in Ramadan and then disregarding it. How can a relationship flourish to its fullest if it is only maintained once a year?

Facebook can be a great networking tool, but if used obsessively, we can become addicted to a media which often brings minute tangible benefits to our lives. Allah’s Book is an incredible networking tool which will connect us to the Creator of the Universe, the One through Whom we can gain tangible benefit in this life and the eternal hereafter. Let’s go to Allah’s Book—to our Best Friend—to the Qur`an—because the best “like” is when Allah (swt) likes your life.

“… Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him – those are the party of Allah . Unquestionably, the party of Allah – they are the successful.” (Qur`an 58:22)

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Peaceful Nights

Allah, the Exalted, says: “Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and day are signs for those of understanding–who remember Allah while standing, sitting and [lying] on their sides” (Qur’an, 3:190-191).

The moments right before you fall sleep are beautifully serene. Everything is still and quiet (hopefully), and all you have amidst the darkness is the radiance of your thoughts and reflections. You might even find the best ideas coming to mind in that relaxed, peaceful state. If you get into bed when you’re exhausted, though, your brain shuts down before you know it, and you don’t remember thinking of anything—even of Allah. The same would apply if you fall asleep while you’re doing something, like watching TV or reading a book.

Think about how you fall asleep every night. What occupies your time right before you fall asleep? If you consider the amount of dhikr (remembrance of Allah) that the Prophet ﷺ did before going to sleep, you’d find that it’s much easier to implement when you consciously choose to go to bed before you feel super tired. More importantly, you’d sleep in a state ofdhikr while feeling the meanings in your heart and reflecting upon them, rather than mumbling them mindlessly as you pass out.

Do you know what adhkār (singular of dhikr) to say before going to sleep? I included some for you below, along with their related etiquettes or benefit. These and more can be found in Fortress of the Muslim (on makedua.com), or in Riyā Al-Salihīn.  Try to keep a reference of these by your bedside, and learn one a week, or even one a day if you can. Start with the easier and shorter ones, and then move on to the longer ones. Practice saying them on a nightly basis, and soon enough, you will know (and feel) them by heart insha’Allah.

From the Qur’an:

  1. Ayat al-Kursi (Qur’an, 2:255).

Benefit: Whoever reads Ayat al-Kursi when (s)he lies down to sleep will have protection from Allah, and Satan will not come near him/(her) until morning. [Bukhari]

  1. The Last Two Ayas of Surat al-Baqarah (Qur’an, 2:285-286).

Benefit: These two ayat will be sufficient for anyone who recites them before sleeping. [Bukhari & Muslim]

  1. The Last Three Chapters of the Qur’an (112113, and 114).

Etiquette: When going to bed every night, the Prophet ﷺ would cup his hands together, blown into them, and recite the last three chapters of the Qur’an. Then, he would wipe over his entire body (as much as possible) with his hands, beginning with his head and face, and then the rest of his body. He would do this three times. [Bukhari & Muslim]

Other Adhkār and Supplications:

1. “Bismik-Allāhumma amūtu wa ahyā.”

 

With Your Name, O Allah, I expire and return to life. [Bukhari]

2. “Allāhumma qinī ʿadhābak yawma tabʿathu ʿibādak” (three times).

O Allah, protect me from Your punishment on the day You resurrect Your servants. [Tirmidhi]

3. SubhānAllah (33 times), Alhamdu lillah (33 times), and Allāhu Akbar (34 times).

Exalted is Allah, All Praise is to Allah, and Allah is the Greatest.  [Bukhari & Muslim]

4. “Alhamdu lillāhi’l-lathī atʿamanā wa saqānā wa kafānā wa āawānā fakam mimman lā kāfiya lahu wa lā mu’wī.” 

All praise is to Allah, Who fed us and gave us to drink, and Who is sufficient for us and has sheltered us — for how many have none to suffice them or shelter them. [Muslim]

5. “Bismika rabbī wadaʿtu jambī wabika arfaʿuh fa’in amsakta nafsī farḥamhā wa’in arsaltahā faḥfadh-hā bimā taḥfadhu bihi ʿibādaka’l-sālihīn.”

In Your name my Lord, I lie down and in Your name I rise, so if You take my soul then have mercy upon it, and if You return my soul then protect it in the way You (protect) Your righteous servants. [Bukhari & Muslim]

6. “Allāhumma aslamtu nafsī ilayk, wafawwaḍtu amrī ilayk, wawajjahtu wajhī ilayk, wa’alja’tu dhahrī ilayk, raghbatan warahbatan ilayk, la malja’a walā manjā minka illā ilayk, āmantu bikitābika’l-lathī anzalta wabinabiyyika’l-lathī arsalt.”

‘O Allah, I submit my soul to You, and I entrust my affair to You, and I turn my face towards You, and I totally rely on You, in hope and fear of You. Verily, there is no refuge nor safe haven from You except with You. I believe in Your Book that You revealed, and in Your Prophet whom You sent.’

Etiquette & Benefit: The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘If you take to your bed, then perform ablution as you would for prayer, lie down on your right side, and then say [the supplication above]. Then, if you die, you will die upon the fitrah (natural disposition)—and make these (words) the last of what you say (before sleeping).’ [Bukhari & Muslim

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Five Ways to Green your Ramadan


  •  By Muaz Nasir

“And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.”  (Quran 2:30)

In Ramadan, there are five simple ways you can make this month more environmentally-friendly. All of these suggestions set the foundation for green habits that can be implemented year-round.

1. Eliminate Waste

This Ramadan, there has been a growing movement to eliminate the use of styrofoam containers and plastic cutlery to serve iftar (the meal after sundown that breaks the fast). Consider alternatives such as plant-based containers and plastics that are compostable or organize a litterless iftar where patrons bring their own containers. Also, try opting out of disposable water bottles. An estimated 88% of water bottles are not recycled in Canada and plastic bottles are the fastest growing segment of municipal solid waste in Canada.1 There are many reusable water bottle options from BPA-free plastic bottles to aluminum and stainless steel flasks that are both inexpensive and lightweight.

2. Purchase Local Produce & Organic Foods

In our globalized economy, most of the food that reaches our dinner plate has traveled hundreds if not thousands of miles. This Ramadan presents the perfect opportunity to get in touch with local farmers markets that are brimming with fresh produce. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint but you will also be supporting your local economy. Also, try experimenting with organic produce either at the suhur (the meal before starting the fast) or iftar. Organic foods taste different and generally contain no pesticides, herbicides, preservatives or other additives. Be sure to check that the product is certified and what selection criteria was used.

3. Reduce Energy Consumption:

There many ways to reduce your energy consumption throughout Ramadan. Turning the air conditioner on only when you are at home or sleeping will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and your energy bills. Closing open blinds, turning off lights, and using fans to circulate air will also keep your home cool. Similarly, at the mosque, keeping doors closed when the air conditioning is on and dimming the lights also reduces energy consumption as well.

4. Use Alternative Transit Options

If you have access to a car and plan to drive to the nightly taraweeh (the night prayer offered in Ramadan), try carpooling when possible. There are many youth and elderly within our community without access to a vehicle or reliable transit at night who would be more than grateful for a ride. Mosque parking lots tend to overflow with congregants during Ramadan, so the fewer number of vehicles actually increases traffic flow for everyone. Also, if you are within a reasonable distance from the mosque, consider taking advantage of the warm weather to ride your bike or walk to prayers.

5. Give A Green Donation

There are many environmental organizations that promote, educate, and conserve our natural resources. Consider making a donation this Ramadan to an environmental cause that resonates with you. Also, try becoming more involved in the political or policy making process by letting your elected leaders know that environmental issues are an important part of your faith and that you expect them to make it an important part of their platform as well.

source  : http://www.suhaibwebb.com

Happens for a Reason, Happens for the Best

There was a bus blocking the right turn lane and its emergency lights were flashing. “I need a quick detour!,” thought the woman driving. She turned into a parking lot to cross through to the adjacent street. As she made the turn, she felt her car heave forward heavily and realized she had not seen the curb. Embarrassed, she continued to the street and felt her car was driving differently. She swung into a side road to check on it.

A flat tire! Subhan’Allah (glory be to God). She immediately thought of the dua`a’ (supplication) that the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) had taught to the ummah (Muslim community) for times of difficulty: “If a servant of Allah is afflicted with a misfortune and says: ‘Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un, Allahumma ajirni fi musibati wa akhlif li khairan minha‘ (Verily we belong to Allah and truly to Him shall we return. O Allah! Protect me in this calamity that has befallen me and replace it with something better), Allah will accept his prayer, grant him reward for his affliction, and replace it with something better.”1 And so she made this dua`a’, knowing full well she had been the one to cause the misfortune to happen in the first place, but hoping that Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) would bless her in some way because of it.

She then sat there, after having called for help, dazed and wondering why this had happened. Why was that bus stopped where it had been stopped? Why was it meant for her to be on this specific road at this specific time, when she usually would never have been in that place, at that time? Why didn’t she wait and go around the bus, instead of turning through a parking lot? She began to contemplate the verse, “And whatever strikes you of disaster—it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much” (Qur’an, 42:30). And finally, perhaps—perhaps—this happened because something better should happen. There had to have been a reason for this situation. But what was the reason? Where was the wisdom?

After some time, her husband came, changed the flat with a spare, and directed her to go to a specific tire company to take advantage of a warranty. This tire company was much further out, in a city which she had never traversed due to its distance and decentralized location. Upon reaching the company and waiting for her tire to be fixed, she realized she needed to praydhuhr (the afternoon prayer) and wondered if there was a masjid nearby. Mapping it, she found one only a few miles away, so as soon as her car was ready, she was headed for the mosque.

There was only one other car parked in the parking lot. Having never been to this masjid before, she searched for an entrance and walked in. There, she found an older man sitting at a table. She greeted him and as he looked up, she asked if he could point out the direction of the prayer area.

He looked at her, almost in a daze. “Aren’t you… Aren’t you that woman who spoke at the conference recently?” She confirmed as he continued, “What brings you here?” He realized she had come to pray and pointed out the direction of the prayer hall. After she had finished her salah (prayer), she headed back towards the entrance to leave. He beckoned her, “Would you mind waiting just a moment?”

He then explained that while she was speaking at the conference, he was listening to her and thinking about the future generation. He was thinking about young adults and the way they need someone to connect with them. He began to think our cultural and age gap as parents sometimes makes it difficult to convey the message of Islam in a way which is culturally relevant to their lives. If only I could somehow come in contact with this woman. Perhaps she could speak to the up-and-coming generation. But Allah—how? How will I come to connect with her? “And now,” he finished, “Here you are.Subhan’Allah.”

At that moment, the woman realized that perhaps the flat tire she had experienced—perhaps the bus with its emergency lights, the miscalculated curb, the need to go to a specific tire company so far away from her own locality—had all taken place so that she could be there, in that place, in that moment of time, where she would be connected to a person who was seeking to call youth back to Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala.

The woman stared at the man, incredulous at the situation. Subhan’Allah, she thought. Maybe this simple man, a man without a hugely outward “Islamic” appearance, a man who sat humbly in the masjid, was someone near to Allah (swt), dear to Allah (swt)—so much so that Allah (swt) would create a situation where the person this man was seeking to speak with came to his door.

It reminded the woman of the story of Imam Ahmad and the Baker. Imam Ahmad radi Allahu `anhu (may God be pleased with him) once was traveling and needed to stay somewhere overnight. When he went to the masjid, the guard (not recognizing Imam Ahmad) denied him entrance. Imam Ahmad (ra) tried numerous times, but the guard did not accept his requests. Frustrated, Imam Ahmad (ra) resolved to spend the night in the masjid yard. The guard became furious and dragged him away, despite the old age and frailty of Imam Ahmad (ra).

A baker, whose shop was nearby, watched this scene and took pity on Imam Ahmad (ra), also not knowing who he was. The Baker thought of the man who needed a place to stay as a simple traveler without lodging. He invited the Imam to stay with him for the night. While there, Imam Ahmad noticed that the baker continually made istighfar (asking for Allah’s forgiveness) while working, and in the morning, the Imam eagerly asked his host about the latter’s continual seeking of forgiveness. The Baker said it had become second nature to him, and Imam Ahmad (ra) then asked whether the man had experienced any reward from this practice.

The Baker answered, “By Allah! No dua`a’ I made except that it was answered but one.” “And what is that dua`a’?” asked Imam Ahmed. “To be able to see the famed Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal!”

Imam Ahmad (ra) interjected, “I am Ahmad ibn Hanbal!” He then went on to add, “By Allah! I was dragged to your place so that you can have your dua`a’ (prayer) come true.”2

Perhaps this man, just like the Baker, was not some conference speaker, not some widely famed Imam, not some enormous Islamic activist, but someone who was sincere in their relationship with Allah (swt), and so Allah (swt) blessed them with acceptance and the answering of their passing wishes and dua`a’.

Days later, she continued to contemplate her encounter. Subhan’Allah, she kept thinking, everything for a reason. Sometimes, “bad” things happen to “good” people. But sometimes, those “bad” things are truly only outward moments of difficulty in comparison to the good Allah (swt) has in store and is preparing for that person to experience, when the time and moment are right.

As Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahu Allah (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “When Allah tests you, it is never to destroy you. Whenever He removes something from your possession, it is only to empty your hands for an even better gift.”

What is stopping us from working to become of those who are beloved to Allah (swt)?


  1. Muslim []
  2. Summarized from Al Jumuah magazine, vol 19, issue 7. []
By Maryam Amir-Ebrahimi

Ramadan : Raining with Mercy

Imagine for a moment that it’s raining. It is pouring, in fact. And imagine that you are inside your house, watching as it falls. But imagine that there is something very different about this rain. It is unlike any other you’ve ever seen. On this day, it is not raining water. It is raining something much more precious to you. Imagine that on this day it is raining hundred dollar bills.

What would you do? What would happen in your neighborhood on that day?  What would happen in the world? Would we not run outside, falling all over ourselves, competing to gain as much of the raining money as we can? Would we not stand outside all night to gather as much as possible?

We would do this for money because money is precious.  But imagine for a moment that it was raining something priceless. Not thousand dollar bills, not trillions, but the mercy of Allah subhana wa ta`ala (exalted is He), a currency that no human currency could even measure.

The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad ﷺ, (peace be upon him) said, “Ramadan has come to you. (It is) a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down Mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived in (this month) of the mercy of Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted.” [Narrated by Tabarani]

In this month, we are shielded from hell-fire, protected from the shayateen (satins), and cleansed from our sins. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith, hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all of his past sins will be forgiven.” (Bukhari).  In another hadith he ﷺ said: “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” [Bukhari]

Within this month, there is a night that is greater than a thousand months (97:1-5). “There is protection from hellfire, at least 70 times the reward for our deeds, and the chance to have all our sins erased.” (hadith)  So, what greater loss can there be than to find ourselves standing in the middle of this massive downfall of blessings without collecting all we can of Allah’s mercy?

And while this mercy showers on us throughout the blessed month, the last ten days are like no other. Aisha radi Allahu `anha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that with the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet ﷺ used to tighten his waist belt (meaning he would work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers [Bukhari].

But how can we fully take advantage of this blessed month, especially in the last ten days?  Here are a few ways:

Reserve a Private Meeting with Allah:

Set a time before or after suhoor to be alone with Allah (swt).  Use this time to connect to Him by praying, making du`a’, or reading Qur’an. There is no other time like it. The Prophet ﷺ said: “When the last one-third of the night remains, our Lord, the Glorious One, descends towards the lower heaven and proclaims: ‘Is there anyone supplicating to Me, so that I grant his supplication? Is there anyone begging of Me for anything so that I grant him his wish? Is there anyone who seeks My forgiveness, so that I forgive him?’” [Bukhari and Muslim].

Set a Time for Reflection:

In the midst of our busy schedule, we seldom find time to stop and relax, let alone reflect on the  realities of life. Make time to do this. Take time to step outside of your daily routine and introspect about where you are and where you’re going.  Reflect on the creation around you and on the  reality of this life, death, and our final meeting with our Creator. Choose a time, such as the last third of the night, when there are no distractions.

Take a Trip to Allah:

We all need to get away sometimes. Use Ramadan as a chance to go away with Allah (swt) as your companion. ‘Aisha (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to practice I`tikaf (seclusion) in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan” [Bukhari].

Don’t Miss the Night of Power:

There is a night in the last ten nights of Ramadan that is greater than a lifetime (1000 months, 83.3 years).  The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever prays during the night of Qadr (power) with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Aisha (ra) said: “I asked the Prophet ﷺ, ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’ He said: ‘Say: O Allah, You are Oft-Pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.’” [Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi]

 

Source: SuhaibWebb – Yasmin Mogahed

http://www.suhaibwebb.com/personaldvlpt/worship/fasting-ramadan/ramadan-raining-with-mercy/