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BANKRUPTCY Q3.180, Q4.29-30

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said: Do you know who is poor? They (the Companions of the Holy Prophet) said: A poor man amongst us is one who has neither dirham with him nor wealth. He (the Holy Prophet) said: The poor of my Ummah would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers and fasts and Zakah but (he would find himself bankrupt on that day as he would have exhausted his funds of virtues) since he hurled abuses upon others, brought calumny against others and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and his virtues would be credited to the account of one (who suffered at his hand). And if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, then his sins would be entered in (his account) and he would be thrown in the Hell-Fire.’ –Sahih Muslim 2581

Concept key

Imagine the irony of it. Consume and confiscate people’s wealth in a bid to amass more and never run out, only to be declared bankrupt on the Day of all days. All those insults we hurl from behind the safety of our computers, as well as a huge chunk of our good deeds hit their targets. Our domestic help which we treat like animals collect not only their wages at the end of the month but our deeds as well.

May Allah save us from such a humiliating fate.

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SHA’ABAN

Before you exercise, you will be advised by any professional or fitness buff to do warm-up exercises first. The warm-up helps prepare the body for the exercise proper and run oil through the machine, so to speak. Well-stretched warm muscles are more resistant to wear and strain unlike cold muscles which do not absorb impact well hence injure faster.

Preparing for Ramadan is key to a successful Ramadan. If you’ve been preparing since Rajab, good for you! If you haven’t, here’s your chance.

So, it is Shaaban already! Ramadan is but a hop and skip away. Here’s a checklist to put us in the mood and right frame of mind for Ramadan. Consider it a head start in order to fully enjoy the blessed month when it arrives.


• Repay the missed fasts of last year’s Ramadan if you have not completed it.
• Review and refresh your old du’a list to update both adhkaar and prayers you wish to be answered. If you don’t have one, now is a good time to begin listing all the prayer points you would like to cover. Hisnu-l-Muslim (Fortress of a Believer) is a good book to peruse for extra rewarding adhkaar.
• Resume daily recitation of the Qur’an. If you would like to read in Arabic but cannot, now is as good a time as any to learn.
• Download your favourite reciter’s quranic recitation online or procure it at an Islamic shop.
• Recommence good habits to prepare yourself for the Holy Month and beyond: giving alms, the two rakats before Fajr, Tahajjud (night prayer), Witr, Monday and Thursday fasts, fasting on the White days etc.
• Try to observe all your salawat in the masjid in congregation (for males) or at least, Fajr and Ishai if you work where doing so is not feasible.
• Invite your relatives, neighbours, or reverts over for dinner to break the ice before Ramadan.
• Cut down on unhealthy food in particular and food in general. Begin to trim back on your coffee, cigarette, Coca-Cola intake and other addictions.
• Cut back on excessive speech and watch your tongue so you don’t spend the entire month trying to rein in your tongue.
• If you would rather be on leave during the Holy Month, now would be a good time to apply for it at work.
• Scout for someone to feed if you are chronically ill and cannot fast.
• Send money to your parents and dependants for Ramadan shopping (particularly if you use the bank) so they can get what they need in time.
• Make your menu and draw up your grocery list. You can even begin to shop for the non-perishable items on your list so you are not overwhelmed by the increasing costs of foodstuff and the stress of shopping in Ramadan.
• Do you believe in Ramadan Resolutions? Write yours down and begin to work toward it.
• Buy Eid gifts and clothes for yourself (and the children too.) Give them to the tailor on time for sewing, if you have to. You do not want to be shopping in Ramadan under the blazing sun or joining in the pre-Eid rush when it’s more expensive.

Have you anymore to add?

REVENGE Q16.126-128, Q42.36-43

A little girl pours freshly boiled yam into a mortar and grabs a pestle. She starts to pound the yam; she’ll prove to her friends who taunted that she can become a good wife and cook. She would make the toughest of meals and make it well, they in turn would like it, she vowed silently. That would shut them up for good!

She struggles with the heavy shifting mortar and oversized weighty pestle in the stuffy disorganised kitchen. Her vegetable stew is burning! She runs to stir and taste it. Ooh, the pounded yam is getting cold and will form lumps so she returns to it with achy arms and sweaty palms. Her mother comes in to help but she is rebuffed. Watching for a while, she silently steps forward and collects the pestle from her little one, who surrenders; dejected but relieved to relinquish control.
pounding yam

The end result is so much better than she could have imagined. It amazed her that her mum could salvage such a mess, both the food and the kitchen. She could not have made such a superb meal that the entire family commended. But then, she consoled herself, Mum’s made this so many times.

At a time or two in our lives, we have been hurt by someone, had our egos bruised, or our trust betrayed. We vowed to teach the perpetrators a lesson they would not forget in a hurry, if ever. We resolved not to let go because the offense was unpardonable, heinous, and inexcusable! We wield an oversize pestle ready to smash their lives to smithereens but wait!

Hand over your pestle to Allah, pocket your pride and swallow your anger. When you allow Him take control, you will recognise that none can win your fight better than Allah. When Allah picks the gauntlet on your behalf, you will realise that your adversaries will be in such awe at His actions that you will begin to pity them.

However, there is an even better alternative. We should let go and forgive. We should adopt patience and relinquish the control the person has over our lives. It is for our own good and will truly set us free.

REVISIT YOUR INTENTIONS Q114.1-6

You know, during the preparation of this blog, there was a time I was really broke and a thought came to me: why not quickly finish this, publish a book and make money (and maybe fame) from it?

This was not the initial intention, of course. I have been compiling my musings for a while to enhance the quality of thoughts and writing. Profit also never came into it because the idea was just to facilitate our relationship with the Qur’an and Allah. I also realised the potential such thoughts had to taint my intention to simply share and perhaps, negatively influence my writing.
the_butterfly_tree_by_wafflesl-d48yht2

Did I decide to forfeit my writing because of that negative thought? Nope. Instead, I tried my best to finalise my preparations on time and blog instead of publish (which was my initial plan and which I still hope to do). I recognised the whisperings for what they were and prayed for Allah to purify my intentions.

Shaytan will always try to pollute whatever good purposes we have and turn it against us. Just because we have an impure thought now should not negate our intentions in our eyes. We are all constantly battling with our nafs (soul) to attain that level of balance with Allah as our guide. We are all, without exception, a work in progress so when our thoughts turn south, we should steer in back north and keep purifying our intentions.

So, if you are planning to use the hijab because it looks good framing your oval face or because people compliment you when you do, use it anyway and keep praying for Allah to rid your heart of those vain desires. If it is time for salaah and you are simply going to pray because your friends are, go with them anyway but remember to make du’a that Allah purifies your intention during the prayer.

By saying you won’t embark on acts of ibadah until your intentions are pure is simply selling yourself short. These are whispers from Shaytan putting self-doubts in our minds and casting a pall on our light.

Make every stumbling block a stepping stone and Allah will guide you the rest of the way, in sha Allah.

TEMPTATIONS Q12.21-34

Undoubtedly, the hottest bloke among the Prophets was Yusuf (ASW). So ‘hawte’ was he that he was virtually beating the women of his time back with a stick! They were really hot on his heels.

Despite the wisdom and knowledge of Prophethood, he was still a man and would have inclined to temptation without Allah’s Help. He recognised his limitations and invoked Allah to help him out of his predicament.

With sexual temptation, the line demarcating sin form good is usually blurred but wide so our antennae have to be up at all times.

When we are always conscious of the temptations that can occur, we are more likely to recognise when we are approaching dangerous territory and retrace our steps. Women are particularly intuitive when this hazy territory is being approached but the truth is sometimes, we place ourselves in situations where these enticements can arise and flourish.
temptation

Temptation comes in various shapes and sizes with diverse facades and can become readily rational to us. We shouldn’t ever over-estimate our strengths to fight temptation.

We should recall that man is inclined toward evil and guard our morals and values jealously. Whatever the temptation we face, we should not succumb to our desires freely like animals. We should flee from it (where possible), or face it head-on with Allah’s Help, remembering self-control is a part of Islam and the benefits of sucuumbing is temporary.

But if we go wrong, we should remember to seek Allah’s forgiveness, truly repent and get back on track instead of wallowing in our filth.

May Allah grant us mercy and the strength to flee from temptation.

PLATTER OF GOLD Q42.27

Do these sound familiar?

  • When there is electricity, you find yourself watching TV, movies or listening to music, the family in isolated orbits but when there is power outage, you find something more meaningful to do and the family interacts better.
  • When you are given a large sum of money that you did not work for, you squander it on unaccountable items but when you are broke, money stretches out better as it is spent more thoughtfully.
  • Time flies when we are busy and is better utilised, but when we are idle, time seems to pass in slow-mo and is often wasted.
  • When things are going smoothly, we neglect our prayers but at the slightest turmoil, we dust our Qur’ans and prayer rugs and remember Allah and our duties with fervour.

platter of gold
These actions are commonplace and understandable. Why? Well, it’s because we are human and fallible. It takes some extra effort to utilise our opportunities better and act upon what we know is important. We should also remember to stop to figure out what clue Allah is giving us when things do not go our way.

The Prophet (SAW) mentioned that the problem his Ummah will have will be money; an abundance of it.

To be given everything on a platter of gold is not always the best. The emergence of a butterfly from its cocoon, unaided, strengthens its wings; so do the turbulences of life make us sharper, better tuned, more appreciative and patient.

Bottomline: If life throws you lemonade, (don’t squirt some in the eye), make lemonade instead.

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LOVE FOR THE SAKE OF ALLAH Q3.104

As-salaam alaykum, people. I wanted to write a post about loving for the sake of Allah but I’ve realised how hard that is.
love for the sake of Allah
You see, it’s much easier to love people you don’t know or barely know than people you know very well. Does that make sense to you?
In case you do not, allow me to expatiate.

Abu Hurairah was reported to have narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said: Allah will say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘Where are those who have mutual love for My Glory’s Sake? Today, I shall shelter them in My Shadow when there is no other shadow but the shadow of Mine. – Sahih Muslim 2566

Loving for the sake of Allah involves loving and helping people without expectations; wishing for them what one wishes for himself; encouraging each other to good and discouraging evil; excusing each other’s behaviours; hiding each other’s faults; rejoicing with them in moments of joy, grieving with them in moments of sorrow and agreeing to disagree when your views differ.

Muadh ibn Jabal narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: Allah (SWT) said, ‘Those who love each other for the sake of My Majesty shall be upon the podiums of light, and they will be admired by the Prophets and the martyrs. – Jami’at Tirmidhi 2390

Unfortunately, while we tend to love our dear ones anyway, we do have expectations of them, you know? Even though we politely anticipate little or nothing from mere acquaintances or strangers, we expect our favours to be returned by loved ones. We expect our parents to bail us out of any trouble for all the love we’ve shown them over the years. We hope our children will take care of us in our old age following all the time and money we have invested in them. We demand that our friends stick out their necks for us because we have sacrificed for them too. Our spouses are expected to reciprocate our good actions or they face the axe.

He who expects nothing will not be disappointed. Man can only try but only Allah can exceed our expectations.

Sadly, it is exceedingly difficult for me to love loved ones unconditionally and have no expectations of them; and harder to forgive them when they let me down. #sigh!

Any one with a short cut around this?

May we be among those who will be placed on pedestals of light.